Why Nicolas Cage Made The Call To Cut His Lines For Willy's Wonderland

"Willy's Wonderland" is a whole damn trip. The action-horror comedy sees a lone drifter (Nicolas Cage) roll into a small town, taking up a job as temporary janitor for a local theme restaurant. What the drifter doesn't know is that the restaurant is haunted. Each night, the souls that inhabit the colorful animatronic mascots wake up and kill those who trespass, which includes a rowdy group of teenagers.

Luckily for these teens, the newly-installed Janitor is rather adept at killing monsters for some reason. What follows this premise is a two-fold slasher film, with the animatronics killing the teenagers while the Janitor kills the animatronics. "Willy's Wonderland" offers so many tantalizing questions, like, "Who taught the Janitor to kill monsters?" and "Did he mean to be trapped in the restaurant for the evening?"

We never really get the answers in the film because the Janitor himself never speaks, and that was a decision made by Cage himself.

Cleaning up after an experiment

The Janitor is played with a stoic intensity by Nicolas Cage. He doesn't seem fazed by mascots infused with the souls of serial killers and treats the entire ordeal like another average day. Given the story comparisons to the video game "Five Nights at Freddy's," some wondered if the Janitor was silent on purpose to reflect a silent video game protagonist.

In a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything, Cage explained the reason behind his character's taciturn nature. The actor says the choice was made on set after he took a look at the script for the film. Cage said:

"The dialogue for my character in "Willy's Wonderland" was very sparse, so I decided with Kevin, the director, to go full Harpo Marx and take all the dialogue out because I thought that would be a fun acting challenge to see how much I could communicate without words and only with movement and facial expressions. I'm very happy with the results of "Willy's Wonderland. It was a good experiment."

Don't drink and destroy

The same user that asked about the silent protagonist also wanted to know about the cans the Janitor chugs during the film when he needs a recharge. The drink is known only as "Punch," with a tagline that reads, "A fistful of caffeine to your kisser." Is Punch a soda, an energy drink, a beer, or perhaps a hard seltzer? Perhaps it's something more sinister and powerful, a libation that charges the Janitor with ancient energies for his battle with the forces of evil.

Cage prefers to leave the specifics of Punch's composition to the audience. "The can question is an interesting one, and I hesitate to answer it for you, because your relationship with the movie is far more important than my relationship with the movie, and so you as the audience member can imagine and surmise whatever you want to be in that can," said Cage. "That is a far better answer and reason for the can than anything I could tell you. I want your opinion as to what was in the can, because that was the right opinion."

Ah, that's the Nicolas Cage we know and love. That's the mix of warmth, manic energy, and intellectual confidence that makes him fun as an actor and an interviewee.