Nicolas Cage Would Love To Team Up With Brian De Palma For A Snake Eyes Sequel [Exclusive]

Brian De Palma's energetic 1998 neo-noir/mystery "Snake Eyes" bears a lot of the filmmaker's famously serpentine aesthetic hallmarks. De Palma employs numerous split-screens, for instance, as well as long tracking shots and POV scenes to mete out carefully eschewed information at just the right pace. Nicolas Cage plays an Atlantic City police detective who is visiting a friend, a naval commander played by Gary Sinise, while attending a high-profile boxing match. When one of the boxers is shot by a sniper (!), Cage springs into action immediately begins investigating who was where in a crowded arena. He zeroes in on a mysterious femme fatale in white (Carla Gugino). Naturally, the screenplay, by David Koepp, goes places a viewer doesn't expect. Luis Guzmán, Tamara Tunie, and Kevin Dunn play supporting roles. 

"Snake Eyes" was not warmly received by critics, and was only a modest hit at the box office. It was considered a come-down for De Palma, whose previous film, "Mission: Impossible," was a massive success two years earlier. Despite the film's energy, slick style, and amazing costumes, it has gone largely unacknowledged by most mainstream audiences. 

Cage, meanwhile, has always cherished the experience of making "Snake Eyes," and remains a big fan of De Palma's. Cage and a confessed "Snake Eyes" fan, /Film's own Jeremy Smith, recently had the opportunity to sit down and share their mutual affection over the nearly-25-year-old thriller. Cage admitted that he would return to the role of Det. Rick Santoro, if De Palma should desire such a thing.

Snake Eyes 2?

In their interview, Smith rightly noted that Cage and De Palma are uniquely well-suited to each other. Cage is famous for his unique, intense, sideways approach to acting, a technique he had referred to as "nouveau shamanic." The phrase refers to acting as reaching a spiritual, shamanistic headspace, but filtered through modern technology. De Palma, meanwhile, has always endeavored to make films that attempt to elevate cinema into an operatic headspace. He makes bold swings, swirls his camera (De Palma is fond of long Steadicam shots), splashes the frame with bright colors, and favors large, melodramatic performances. Both Cage and De Palma seem fond of enormous, theatrical gestures. 

When asked about their copacetic spirits, Cage agreed. Indeed, he admitted that, ever since "Snake Eyes," he has hoped to work with De Palma again. In Cage's words: 

"You know something? I've been trying to work with Brian ever since I made that movie. We had a great script about Howard Hughes that David Koepp wrote. I'd like to revisit that. But I just found out that it's the 23rd anniversary of 'Snake Eyes.' I don't watch my old movies, but I'm compelled to watch that one again because I had a great time working with Brian, because of his guts and his ability to do these huge takes."

The Howard Hughes script that Cage refers to was one of many Hughes biographies that Hollywood was toying with for many years. Martin Scorsese's 2004 film "The Aviator" was what the studios ultimately made, but there was an Edward Norton version, a Warren Beatty Version, a Jim Carrey/Christopher Nolan version, and, yes a Cage/De Palma version, none of which got made. De Palma's film, in a meta twist, would have featured Cage as both Hughes and his fake biographer, Clifford Irving. 

Filming without a net

Cage went on to describe why he liked working with De Palma, and the filmmaker's propensity for a wild style of filming that the actor found incredibly amenable. It involved filming, as Cage described, without a net: 

"We had, like, five-minute cans of film that would swish pan, and we had to act it all out and rehearse it all day. And if you missed one line or flubbed up with a prop or anything, you had to go back to the beginning and do it all over again. He called it 'no-net productions,' and it was stimulating. There was an adrenaline to that. I would love to do a sequel to 'Snake Eyes,' and with Brian De Palma. He's one of my favorite directors."

De Palma, now 82, most recently made the crime thriller "Domino" in 2019, a film he is on record for disliking. He felt the production didn't go well, and he wasn't pleased with the results. It seems that if he wanted to revisit Det. Rick Santoro with "Snake Eyes 2," now is as good a time as any. Cage is game, of course, and De Palma has seemingly lost none of his flair for twisty noir plots in recent years (in 2012, he made a lesbian crime flick called "Passion"). Surely Cage and Jeremy Smith aren't the only ones who would be interested in seeing this.