Nicolas Cage Opens Up About Filming His First Western

by Suzanne Halliburton

Nicolas Cage is 58. He’s acted in every sort of movie genre, whether he’s playing the good guy, the anti-hero, even a version of his real self.

But his new project is a unique one. For the first time in his career, Nicolas Cage is starring in a western. It’s called Butcher’s Crossing. And Cage and his castmates were in Toronto this weekend to attend the movie’s world premiere.

Nicolas Cage and the rest of his castmates started filming the movie last October in Montana. And he shaved his head for his role of Miller, the blood-thirsty buffalo hunter. Here’s the movie plot summary:

“A frontier epic about an Ivy League drop-out as he travels to the Colorado wilderness, where he joins a team of buffalo hunters on a journey that puts his life and sanity at risk. Based on the highly acclaimed novel by John Williams.”

Fred Hechinger plays Will Andrews, the Harvard dropout. Critics describe the movie as a coming-of-age story. But this one is set in 1870 with a bunch of bison hunters.

Nicolas Cage talked this weekend about his very first western and about his character, Miller sounds like the kind of crazy guy Cage has portrayed his entire career.

Nicolas Cage and the rest of the cast of Butcher’s Crossing attend the world premiere in Toronto. The movie is Cage’s first westen. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Nicolas Cage Plays a Guy Who Likes to Kill Buffalo

So about his first western. He says he always was meant to be in one because he’s from California.

“Yes, it’s amazing to me. I know people sometimes laugh when I say I’m from the West, but the fact is, you can’t get any more West than California,” Nicolas Cage told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I have a California drawl. It’s the way I speak. So I was sort of mystified that I had not been invited to do this in 40 years of cinema. It would be an easy match for me. It wouldn’t be easy for me to do an Arthurian drama, but to me it was easy to fit right into a Western. Gabe actually offered me this script over five years ago, but it only came to fruition recently.”

Gabe is Gabe Polsky, the movie’s director who also co-wrote the script. Cage added some more details about Miller, who made his living killing buffalo. For Butcher’s Crossing, he’s hunting a special herd. He lets Andrews join them for a $500 fee.

Cage Says His Character Has “No Filter” In Movie

Miller, says Nicolas Cage, “has no filter when it comes to killing. And I think that this book Butcher’s Crossing captures some of the essences of all those masterpieces, and you know, the pull of nature and the pull of the kill that exists within all of our hearts, for better or for worse.

Cage told The Hollywood Reporter: “And in addition to the atrocity of the genocide, almost to the point of genuine extinction of the buffalo, was its direct connection with the First Nation. For Native American people, if you cut off the bison, you cut off the people, because they were a huge part of their life source. So I think Miller is not only villainous, but he also feels like an agent of that implicit genocide involving the Native Americans.”

So check out Nicolas Cage in his first western.