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What the ‘Longlegs’ Cast Has Teased About Nicolas Cage’s Terrifying Character Transformation

What the Longlegs Cast Has Teased About Nicolas Cage s Transformation Into His Terrifying Character 516
Neon

Horror fans have been endlessly teased about Nicolas Cage‘s shocking transformation for Longlegs — but there have only been a few glimpses of the terrifying villain.

Longlegs, which is directed by Oz Perkins, follows FBI agent Lee (Maika Monroe), who is assigned to investigate an unsolved serial killer case. She begins to uncover occult clues that lead to a Satanic murderer — played by Cage — with whom she might have a personal connection.

Cage’s character, Longlegs, has been spoken about endlessly but not shown in full before the film’s release. Critics and fans who saw the movie in advance hinted at a physical transformation where Cage wore thick pale makeup and prosthetics. He also donned a white wig to bring the nightmare to life.

In addition to reviews that praised Cage’s haunting performance, fans got in on the fun with promotional videos that required freezing the frame to catch a glimpse at Longlegs. In July, production company Neon released a trailer of Monroe seeing Longlegs for the first time while filming a scene with Cage.

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The sound of her heartbeat was recorded to show how scared Monroe was by the experience.

“The first time Maika Monroe saw Nicolas Cage as Longlegs, her heart rate hit 170 bpm,” the Instagram caption for the video read. The promo itself included a quote from Monroe that read, “When I walked in and saw Nicolas Cage for the first time as Longlegs, that was a visceral experience I’ll never forget.”

Keep scrolling for quotes from the cast and crew about Cage’s dedication — and the behind the scenes secrecy — that went into crafting Longlegs:

Bringing the Character to Life

What the Longlegs Cast Has Teased About Nicolas Cage s Transformation Into His Terrifying Character 517
Neon

Cage broke down the fragile yet high-pitched voice that he picked out to showcase how sinister Longlegs is as a character.

“For some reason, when I read the script, I heard my mother’s voice. And then I met with director Oz Perkins. And the first thing he said to me was, ‘Nic, this is a movie about my mother,'” he recalled to The New Yorker in July. “And I said, ‘Well, that’s very interesting, Oz, because I was just thinking that I want to make this character about my mom.'”

Cage continued: “She would talk, like, ‘Oh, Nicky, you looked just like a little bird when you were born.’ And that was just scary. I think my mom did as well as she could with the situation in which she was contending with, but it was still scary. So I thought, ‘I want to make this character as a sort of homage to my mother.’ Not that she was satanic, but her vocalizations, the way she would move. So that’s why this is so different.”

Finding Some Spooky Inspiration

Cage told The Hollywood Reporter in July that building Longlegs was all about “finding this very androgynous, he-she look, glam rock look.” He said it was “important” that Longlegs not look “anything” like him.

“That I found liberating,” Cage noted. “That I could speak in this way and move in this way and talk about these very dark things.”

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Choosing Not to Unveil the Villain

Fans Got a Glimpse at Nicolas Cage's 'Longlegs' Villain — and It's Terrifying
Nicolas Cage as Longlegs. NEON/YouTube

Despite horror fans expecting to see a glimpse of Longlegs before the movie‘s release, Perkins stood his ground.

It’s driving people towards a freak show at a circus tent. We’ve got the thing behind the curtain, and when there’s enough people gathered ’round, we’re going to pull the curtain,” he told Entertainment Weekly in June.

Perkins confirmed that viewers wouldn’t immediately see Longlegs in full while watching the movie, adding, “Editing a picture is a nearly psychedelic experience. It really is because it’s so infinite. The permutations and combinations you can get from putting this there and that there, you’re in a Rubik’s Cube of possibilities. I think we found the sweet spot. This guy lives just outside the consciousness of our protagonist. He’s there, but he’s totally not there, but he’s totally there.”

Cage, meanwhile, showed his support for the secrecy swirling around Longlegs.

“It’s the equivalent of putting a warning label on a jar of nitroglycerin,” he told the outlet at the time. “The monster is a highly, highly dangerous substance. The way it’s moved, unveiled, deployed has to be treated very carefully. Forget about the movie theater blowing up. The whole city could blow up, nay the country, maybe even the world. He is going to change your reality. Your doors of perception are going to open, and your life is not going to be the same.”

The Initial Concept of Going Method

Fans Got a Glimpse at Nicolas Cage's 'Longlegs' Villain — and It's Terrifying
Courtesy of NEON (2)

According to Monroe, she didn’t meet Cage until they had to film their first scene together.

“They’d been filming with Cage for five days at that point and it was his last day. The director chose to not have me see anything, not meet him, not see what his face looked like. He created this character — this thing — and so I was so nervous,” she recalled to Variety in July. “So the PAs bring me up to this door that enters into the room where he is, the cameras start rolling on me and the director calls action. I open the door, and it was incredible. I wasn’t in a room with Nic Cage, I was in a room with Longlegs.”

She added: “After we finished that scene, we’re sitting across from each other and he leans over — in his full makeup and everything — and says, ‘Oh, I’m such a big fan of you.’”

Monroe later explained how Cage was always “full prosthetic and wardrobe” on set, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “Oz wanted to keep us completely separate — I didn’t see any of it.”

In response to a question about the decision to keep Cage’s appearance so secretive, Monroe shared, “I feel like nowadays so much is in your face and you watch a trailer, and I’m like, ‘I know the whole plot to this.’ So I think it’s so cool and it’s so nice to have a genuine surprise and for audience members to have no idea what he looks like and go to the theaters and see it.”

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Coming Out of Character

According to Perkins, Cage stayed in the character’s mindset but didn’t fully embrace method acting for the role.

“For the first couple of days, he was pretty much in his own self, keeping to himself. He didn’t want to hang out or have lunch. He spoke to me — and in between takes he spoke to me as Nicolas Cage,” Perkins told THR. “I didn’t have to deal with any sort of Method acting bulls—t where you can’t reach the actor. … It wasn’t like that, it was him — he’s just very focused and he means what he does.”

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