Nicolas Cage Anthony Bourdain
Our Nicolas Cage cover designed by Ryan Ward. Image: Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, courtesy of Lionsgate, photographed by Katalin Vermes

Nicolas Cage is our spring cover star; Paul Verhoeven continues the never-ending sex scene debate; Anthony Bourdain “would have gotten a big laugh” out of that AI voice in Roadrunner, according to one longtime friend and collaborator. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

The Memefication of Nicolas Cage: Here’s the cover of our spring print issue, with a shot of Cage in his new Lionsgate film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent photographed by Katalin Vermes. The cover was designed by our own Ryan Ward.

Nicolas Cage Cover

Our Nicolas Cage cover. Designed by Ryan Ward, photo by Katalin Vermes, courtesy of Lionsgate.

… and here’s the cover story, written by yours truly. Cage and I talked about everything from memes to playing himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent to his Sunday habit of kicking back and watching UFO documentaries. The opening line is: “Nicolas Cage is coming to terms with his own memefication.” I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Box Office: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hit $71 million this weekend, overtaking Sony, Marvel, and Daniel Espinosa’s Morbius for the No. 1 spot, according to Variety. Universal and Michael Bay’s Ambulance, however, gathered just $8.7 million during its debut. Interesting that a kids/family movie overtook a Marvel movie and an action movie this weekend.

Dustin, Candice, and Mayim: Got to know each other really well during the making of The Big Bang Theory star’s feature directorial debut As They Made Us. I’m talking about Dustin Hoffman, Candice Bergen, and Mayim Bialik, of course. The family drama also starred Dianna Agron and Big Bang alum Simon Helberg. Bialik told me all about the adorable bond that she made with Hoffman and Bergen on the set of the New Jersey-made film in this story here.

Meanwhile, in Florida: The 2022 Sarasota Film Festival has announced this year’s winners at Sunday’s closing night ceremony. Congratulations to Christian Carroll’s Out of Breath, which won the narrative competition prize, and Shawn Bannon’s The Smell of Money, which won the documentary competition prize.

Congrats Full Frame Winners: Six awards, totaling a value of $35,000 in cash prizes, have been awarded at the 2022 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which is a qualifying event for nominations in the Academy Award Documentary Short Subject category and the PGA Awards. Congratulations to I Didn’t See You There, which won The Full Frame Grand Jury Award. Read the full winner’s list here.

The Never-Ending Sex Scene Debate: Paul Verhoeven talked about Hollywood’s purification of sex scenes in an interview with the UK’s The Times for his new film, Benedetta, which is about a particularly horny nun. He says that the art of sex scenes has been ruined by “the evangelical thinking of the last decades — that sexuality has to be family-orientated. A man, woman, children.”

Oh, and About That One Scene in Basic Instinct: “We had no idea that shot, showing a little bit of vagina — not more than a stripe — would be a problem,” he said of Sharon Stone’s famous chair scene.

Anthony Bourdain Would’ve Laughed: At the AI voice used in Morgan Neville’s documentary about his life, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain — according to Bourdain’s longtime friend and producer Lydia Tenaglia. “He would have gotten a big laugh out of that,” she said. “I think he would have thought, understanding filmmaking, that that was a useful device. Those were his words.” I spoke to her ahead of Roadrunner‘s CNN television premiere on Sunday.

Fun Fact: Tenaglia and her husband Chris Collins were actually the ones who convinced Bourdain to try doing TV for the first time, way back in the year 2000. For that, we will forever be indebted to them. They went on to executive produce his beloved shows, including Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Mind of a Chef, and Parts Unknown.

‘Staunchly Midwestern’: Is how horror filmmaker Jennifer Reeder describes herself in an interview with our own Caleb Hammond. She made her latest film, Night’s End, in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

Reeder Says: “I hate the idea that a young filmmaker would give up everything, to move to where they thought was the place where they were really going to make their mark, and then end up living, not even paycheck-to-paycheck, for work that didn’t allow them to stretch their wings creatively.”

Main Image: Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, courtesy of Lionsgate, photographed by Katalin Vermescover, on our spring print cover, designed by Ryan Ward.