Nicolas Cage + Left Behind = Awesome

Nicolas Cage + Left Behind = Awesome October 20, 2012

How can something so wrong feel so right? Variety reports “Nicolas Cage in talks to star in ‘Left Behind’ reboot“:

Nicolas Cage is in negotiations to topline “Left Behind,” a mainstream reboot of the Christian-themed movie trilogy that will mark the first film from Stoney Lake Entertainment, a new production company led by Paul Lalonde of faith-oriented banner Cloud Ten Pictures.

The “Left Behind” franchise is based on the series of books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins that have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide.

… The Christian-themed “Left Behind” reboot will follow a group of survivors during the first few hours after the Rapture.

The original trilogy, which launched in 2001, starred Kirk Cameron.

The reference to Cam-Cam there is surely misleading. Cage is 48 years old. Cameron played Cameron — Buck Williams, the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time  — and the 30-year-old reporter would be a stretch for Cage.

So does this mean Cage is set to play Rayford Steele? He wouldn’t be my first choice for the misogynist, pompous, repressed and hilariously un-self-aware pilot. For Rayford, I’d look for someone more like a young Fred Willard- or Mitt Romney-type, though I’m not sure who that would be in Hollywood today.

Will Ferrell could do Rayford justice. Maybe Steve Carell. Bryan Cranston would be awesome. Richard Jenkins maybe.

But then again, the primary characteristic of Rayford Steele is that he’s creepy — and Nicolas Cage is really good at creepy. So maybe that could work.

The ideal Left Behind role for Cage would be Dirk Burton — Buck’s paranoid, conspiracy-theorist “source” from the first book. Unfortunately, Dirk only appears briefly before he’s murdered by the conspiracy of international [don’t say ewish-Jay] financiers in a tangential sub-plot that is quickly forgotten and then made irrelevant to the story.

I could also see Cage as Bruce Barnes — especially as sweaty, disheveled, sleep-deprived Bruce. Bruce Barnes would be a lot more fun with a dose of H.I. McDunnough.

But how about Nicolas as Nicolae?

I would enjoy that. I would pay cash money to go and see that in a movie theater. I’m rather fond of Gordon Currie’s scenery-chewing, campy turn as the Antichrist in the original awful trilogy of movies. I think Cage could start there and crank it up to 11.

And the movie would benefit from making Nicolae Carpathia the “topline” character. Unlike the story’s nominal “heroes,” Buck and Rayford, the Antichrist actually does things, and stories tend to be much more interesting when they focus on characters who do things rather than on characters who never, ever do.

Alas, the sketchy initial reports on this Left Behind reboot don’t provide any further detail on the casting of the film. Hollywood Reporter focuses on the director, “Stunt Icon Vic Armstrong,” and offers this tidbit on the upcoming movie:

The story will be more in the mold of a classic disaster film. The plot unfolds during the first few hours after the Rapture and focuses on the survivors.

Filmophilia, Collider, FirstShowing, Film School Rejects and /Film all chime in on the news, but don’t add much detail to the Variety report. While Zack Hunt at American Jesus is hoping for more of a Left Behind/National Treasure mash-up:

My only hope is they tweak the story a little bit and Nicolas Cage ends up having to steal the Lamb’s Book of Life from heaven because there’s a secret map hidden inside that can save the world from Armageddon.

So let’s have some fun. Let’s either ignore this project’s reported small budget ($15 million is, in Hollywood terms, a small budget) or else pretend that every actor in tinsel-town is in the same desperate financial straits as Cage, and let’s cast this reboot.

Here’s my hasty initial take:

Rayford Steele: Will Ferrell

Buck Williams: Jonah Hill

Nicolae Carpathia: Nicolas Cage

Chloe Steele: Clea Duvall

Hattie Durham: Anna Faris

Bruce Barnes: Steve Buscemi

Drunken Businessman on Airplane: John Goodman

Chaim Rosenzweig: Alan Arkin

Dirk Burton: Harry Dean Stanton

In the event that Tim Burton can be convinced to direct, then I’d be quite pleased to have Johnny Depp as Nicolae, Helena Bonham Carter as Hattie, Bill Murray as Rayford, and Mark Wahlberg as Buck Williams. That would be fine, too.

"*Thinks of hopeful things to say**Instead, sits down beside Eeyore with Piglet and Pooh.*"

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  •  Ramen to that ( ._.)b

  • Anton_Mates

    The story will be more in the mold of a classic disaster film. The plot
    unfolds during the first few hours after the Rapture and focuses on the

    So…during the period before it occurs to anyone that this was the Rapture, then?  It’s just a bunch of non-RTCs running around being shattered/desperate/heroic in the midst of a disaster no one has an explanation for?

    I’m a tad unclear on why RTCs would want that movie made.

  • Victor Savard

     Come on PepperjackCandy, just about every body goes by-polar now and then so what’s wrong with Nicolas Cage doing “IT” in the movies where “IT” won’t hurt society besides he’s only human and if that was your family, you might go crazy too!

    I hear ya! Hey folks! Victor’s Back!

    Real cute sinner vic and you make fun out of me, butt don’t you know that “I” just got out

    Darn Victor! You didn’t even tell U>S that you were in! So tell U>S (usual sinners) how long were you in for?

    Give “IT” UP sinner vic cause you know that me, myself and i have just come back from church where we received the body and blood of “Jesus”.

    “Christ”? Tell U>S (usual sinners) all about “IT”. butt on second thought, forget “IT” Victor cause the last thing we gods want to do is open UP another can of worms like the last time. Butt you know what they say, “What doesn’t kill ya, will make ya stronger” butt please, no more bees as shock treatment.

    Victor! Let me tell ya what ya don’t know cause as soon as Fred gives U>S (usual sinning gods) our certified cheque for a Billion, we’re off in our space ship bell time machine with the rest of the aliens cells who have enough money to pay for the trip that is.

    Look Victor! Wake UP! Don’t be so silly like those  apostles of this so called “Jesus” were.

     Even after we had ten of them convinced that they could be number one, they still chose to continue to follow this “Jesus”, butt Victor, I ask ya! Where is HE NOW?

    Victor! Victor! Victor, we gods have been more than fair to HIM, As a matter of fact, I went down to visit HIM over 2012 years ago and what did “IT” get me? Yes, I listened to HIS preaching and to tell ya the truth, He almost had me believing in HIM after HE gave me “ONE” of HIS Complements butt Victor, HE quickly took “IT” all back! Go Figure.

    OK! I’ll bite sinner vic! How did HE do that?

    Victor, I’ll ignore that bite remark for the moment and tell ya that after I explained to HIM that “I” was as good as any of HIS so called followers back then, HE agreed and then tells me that “I” had “ONE” more thing to do and that was for me god to cell, I mean sell everything me gods owned and give “IT” all to the poor and then follow HIM.

    So why didn’t ya do “IT” sinner vic?

    Victor! Wake UP! These alien may have Fred under their spell butt not me gods cause these aliens are last and if “Jesus” has His way, we’ll need to serve not only the humans but these aliens also.  Ha yes! And some of these humans have ungly sins but nothing compared to these aliens.

     Some of these aliens are so ungly that only the love of a good mother on their pay day could help them live a normal life.

    Listen we don’t mind helping these human so called trans vest types but not these alien types cause some of them are just too mean and ungly! Besides they don’t want to be helped and most of them honestly believe that they’re Normal and nothing is wrong with them. Believe “IT” or not that’s why the majority of Kirk’s cells gave UP acting with them.

    You mean Kirk Douglas??

    NO! NO! Not him silly! Don’t be so ignorant Victor! Talk to some of William Shatner imaginary cells and they might be able to set you straight if you know what “I” mean?

    I’ve got to go now Victor!

    So where’s the fire sinner vic?

    “IT’s” in your kitchen on the stove and “IT” is scaring the hell out of your wife so you better get down there before “IT” is too late. Get my drift?


    By the way tell Paul Lalonde of faith-oriented banner Cloud Ten Pictures that for a small commission we’ll talk to a few of Mike Douglas reality cells cause we think that he could make a great Anti-Christ too.


  • spinetingler

    Lord Vetinari  with extra mind-mojo!

  • Nathan Fillion as Rayford Steele and Jonah Hill as Buck. 

    I will never be able to unsee this.

    And that is a good thing.

  • spinetingler

     “But how about Nicolas as Nicolae?  I would enjoy that. I would pay cash money to go and see that in a movie theater.”

    As would I.

  • reynard61

    “Rayford Steele: Bruce Campbell”

    Have him channelling Ash from Army of Darkness and you’ve got yourself a deal!

  • Kiba

    Great minds must think alike ’cause that’s the song that was going through my head when I wrote that. ^_^

  • AnonymousSam

    Come to think of it, Arnie’s probably the most representative of the Jesus in those books than anyone could ever possibly hope to be.

    Left Behind: Wrath of the Lambinator

  • Matri

    Nicolae: Robert Downey Jr.

    *offers money*

  • Rayford – As has been selected many times already, and because there seems to be some sort of requirement that he be in everything these days, Bryan Cranston  (I’m not complaining, as he’s great, but seriously, dude is everywhere now.)

    Buck – Mark Wahlberg, with his look of perpetual bewilderment solidly in place

    Chole – Jennifer Lawrence (see my comments about the requirement for Bryan Cranston to be in everything)

    Nicolae – Tom Cruise

    Hattie – Scarlett Johansson (Seriously, if I were the Antichrist, that’s totally who I would choose as my girlfriend…)

    Dirk Burton – Rainn Wilson

    Bruce Barnes – Paul Giamatti

    Steve Plank – Philip Seymour Hoffman

    And Nicolas Cage as Chaim Rosenzweig.  Just imagine it.

  • This is off-topic, but I must tell someone.  Also, it is awesome, just like casting a new LB movie.

    Watching the weather forecast on the news just now–weatherperson instructed us to look at “the overhead portion of the sky.”

    The overhead portion of the sky.


    I just don’t even.

  • Twig

    Just say “NSFW: Nicholas Cage Acting”

  • I haven’t liked Cage in anything since “Raising Arizona.”  He was great in that though.

  • Jessica_R

    Forgot Hattie, and I thought of a few more characters that pop up in the sequels… 

    Hattie: Zoe Saldana 

    Nurse Patty: CCH Pounder 

    Amanda: Angela Bassett 

    Loretta: Ellen Burnstyn 

    Leon(a): Tilda Swinton (Seriously, I want to see Swinton and Downey play scenes off each other.) 

    Cardinal: Carl Reiner 

    Flight Attendant Caroline: Emma Stone 

  • Jessica_R

    Aw damnit, I want to see the multiverse(s) where the Hawks and/or Wilder Left Behind regularly play TCM. Don’t forget that Hawks would use Walter Brennan as Stanton, lovable coot office manger of Grant’s paper. And Wilder would slip in William Holden as Bruce, bitter knows too much preacher man, who hates himself for doing the right thing. 

  • If this movie ever gets made, I think that would be it for humanity as a species. I mean, what else would we have to look forward to? Nothing we do beyond this could ever top that.

  • revrocky210


         “If politicians need
    vetting, so do evangelical ‘rapture’ promoters who make millions palming
    off a 19th century fantasy as Bible fact – a fantasy that’s
    anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, and anti-Muslim!”
         This is what journalist/historian Dave MacPherson began thinking in 1968.
    Since then he’s been vetting those who’ve been trafficking in what is
    known theologically as the “pretribulation rapture” – everyone from John
    Darby to John Walvoord and John Hagee.
         To see just a scrap of
    MacPherson’s voluminous “library” of vetting, Google “The Unoriginal
    John Darby,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Edward
    Irving is Unnerving,” “Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),”
    “LaHaye’s Temperament,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not
    Steal,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrets,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” and
    “Pretrib Rapture Politics” (anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, and
         Or better yet, get his 300-page nonfiction book
    “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books) – a veritable “internet” on
    the long hidden history of this 182-year-old, fringe-British-invented
    pretrib rapture craze!
         BTW, many of MacPherson’s articles are on
    the “End Times Passover” blog owned by Southern California media figure
    Joe Ortiz.

  • Ben English

    Rayford: Joel Murray
    Buck: Seth Rogen
    Chloe: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
    Hattie: Diane Kruger
    Carpathia: Nicholas Cage
    Leon: Brad Dourif
    Chaim: Leonard Nimoy
    Fitzhugh: Billy Bob Thornton
    Billings: Samuel L. Jackson
    Bruce: Lawrence Fishburne
    Loretta: Nichelle Nichols
    Amanda: Sigourney WeaverVerna: Ellen DeGeneres

  • Mrs Grimble

    I really like the idea of Jon Hamm playing Nicolea.  No need for mind-control stuff  – his Antichrist would win over the masses with some AWESOME Powerpoint presentations.

  • *Snaps fingers* Director: Mel Brooks. Because we must ridicule the absurd so it will never be taken seriously again…shit, did I just Godwin this thread? :S

  • I want to see Dick Miller playing the Antichrist.

  • Supporting characters:

    Leon Fortunato: Steve Schirripa

    Viv Ivins: Betty White

    “Mac” MacCullem: Damian Lewis

    Leah Rose:  Catherine Tate

    David Hassid: James McAvoy

    Annie Christopher: Michelle Williams

    Hannah Palemoon: Rachelle White Wind Arbez

    Chang Wong: Haruma Miura

    Ming Wong Toy Woo:  Yang Mi

    Tiffany (David’s assistant):  Amanda Seyfried

  • Chang Wong: Haruma Miura

    he’s cute. :P

    Seriously though, James McAvoy for Hayseed? he doesn’t have the cute-douchebag look that I imagine Hayseed has because he’s, well, a douchebag.

  • Jay

    How about Travolta as Rayford and Samuel Jackson as Bruce Barnes, with dialogue by Quentin Tarantino?  It would make all the damn phone calls soooo much more watchable.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hattie: Zoe Saldana

    Now that I would pay money to see. Possibly twice. I have the sneaking suspicion that LaHaye and Jenkins would have heart attacks at the idea of Rayford having romantic interest in a brown person, though, and you know how I’d hate to see bad things happen to them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    David Hassid: James McAvoy

    I can’t remember whether Hassid’s Israeli or not. If he is, I know there are Israeli actors who speak English. Only one I can think of offhand is Alona Tal, though…actually Alona Tal as Deborah Hassid would be highly entertaining. And also likely to give LaHaye and Jenkins heart attacks.

  • Parisienne

    I feel like Jeff Goldblum should be in it, on account of how much of his career can be summed up as “stereotypical Jewish guy”. I thought of him for Chaim first, but actually I think he needs to be cast as Tsion ben Judah (AKA Jewy McJewstein the Jew).

  • The way I figure it, he’s cute and a good actor.  So I’m betting he could play a charming douchebag.

  • Hayseed is Polish, but of Israeli ancestry. * **

    *I remember this because it is actually a Very Important Plotpoint later on.

    ** Despite being Polish and, by his own admission, never having set foot in the U.S., he is read with an American accent in the audio versions.

  • Hmmm. If I had to pick cute, charming, arrogant douchebag types I’d probably cast, hmm….

    Well, I guess Hayden Christensen or Alex Pettyfer could probably pull it off. :)

  • Cage’s character in “Lord of War” was one of the most evil people in existence… and yet he somehow managed to get you to root for him.  Perfect Nicholae.  I’d go see that movie, if for nothing else than the apoplectic fit that it’d give L&J.

  • Tricksterson

    He can play Jesus.

  • Tricksterson

    I just want to see a porn version.  A musical porn version.

  • Rayford: John Travolta
    Buck: Edward Norton 
    Chloe: Amanda Seyfried
    Bruce Barnes: Phillip Seymour Hoffman
    Nicolae: Nicolas Cage
    Steve Plank: John Goodman
    Verna: Ghostbusters-era Annie Potts
    Hattie: Scarlett Johansson

  • Turcano

     We need to have Nicolas Cage as Steve Plank, Christopher Walken as Leon Fortunato, with Nicolae Carpatia being played by Tim Curry.

  • Holden

    I don’t often post here, but what the heck.

    Rayford Steele: Tyler Perry
    Buck “Cameron” Williams: Cuba Gooding Jr.
    Hattie Durham: Rosario Dawson
    Chloe Steele: Zoe Saldana
    Nicolae Carpathia: Denzel Washington
    Bruce Barnes: Marlon Wayans
    Amanda: Jada Pinkett Smith
    Tsion Ben-Judah: Spike Lee
    Moishe: Mos Def
    Eli: Samuel L. Jackson
    Chaim Rosenzweig: James Earl Jones
    Verna: Pam Grier

    I’ve been kind of obsessed with all-black casts since a friend suggested one for Gone with the Wind.

  • Nicolae?  There’s only one possibility here:  Josh Romney, of course.

  • ohiolibrarian

    William Shatner as Bruce Barnes.


  • rizzo

    Ah crap…I try to watch every Nic Cage movie to see how insane he is, so I guess that means I actually have to watch an entire LB movie now:(

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’ve been kind of obsessed with all-black casts since a friend suggested one for Gone with the Wind.

    Zoe Saldana is Latina, and Rosario Dawson is multiracial and I’ve no idea whether she identifies black or Latina or multiracial though it is probably safe to bet she does not identify white.

    Gone with the Wind, really? Wouldn’t that kind of miss the point? Unless the slave characters are white or something.

  • Holden

    That’s what I thought at first, but it kind of makes sense if your goal is to expose the frankly horrible assumptions about race that shape the story. At the time I compared it to donating the proceeds from “Atlas Shrugged” to Habitat for Humanity.

    Thank you for correcting me about Dawson and Saldana.

  • I’d get behind this movie if the premise was Big Daddy and Hit-Girl taking on the Antichrist (Kick-Ass can be the one burned alive in this version)

  • vsm

    Isn’t exposing the racism in Gone With The Wind a bit like revealing the anti-semitic subtext of Mein Kampf?

  • Necktomlee

    I think I would have a problem with this, this is a not-so-subtle Christian series that I would never touch. I’d rather choose Narnia over this, at least Narnia mixed Christianity with Mythology, Magic and Fairy tales. 
    Left Behind series has cliches and stereotypes of: 
    Madonna-Whore Complex (as in women are either seen as feminist sluts or submissive virgins). Gay people are either evil or ‘convert’, It contains Anti-Catholicism (they believe Catholics aren’t Christians) and Antisemitism (Jews either convert or worship Satan) and Islamophobia. There’s so much Black and White Morality, no Grayness.
    And most of all, the Jesus/God portrayed in the Left Behind series sounds like a Jerk. I’d pick Aslan over him anytime. 

  • Evil Eric

    I’d pay to see Nic-Nic.

  • I’ve changed my mind about the Dick Miller role. I want him to be the guy who sold Bruce Barnes his advanced computer and printer out of the back of a car. Especially if they do a completely intrusive flashback Coen Brothers-style to put him in the movie for 20 seconds. “Listen, mac, this is the best PC money can buy. The printer does single sheet, continuous feed, dot matrix, you name it. You wanna purchase, you purchase. You don’t wanna purchase, you don’t purchase.”

  • VMink

    Can we get Eddie Izzard as Guy Blod?

  • Collegedude790

    really? why is it everybody wants Will Ferrell? Will Ferrell would just ruin this movie! we don’t need a childish twenty minute long temper tantrum in the middle of a disaster film! and really ana faris? Steve Carell? what are you trying to do make this out to be a comedy??

  • Pops

    I see Justin Timberlake as Buck. Don’t know about Bruce, but Steve Buscemi just doesn’t cut it for reasons of age. Jason Bateman maybe?