Face/Off: 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts about Nicolas Cage and John Travolta’s Film


Of all the classic action movies released in the 1990s (or any decade, in fact), “Without a Face” is one of the few that can really be called one of a kind. In addition to his strikingly inventive concept (FBI agent John Travolta literally changes faces with the infamous terrorist who killed his son, played by Nicolas Cage in his complete absence), he creates an aura of dizzying, unfiltered absurdity that is rarely found in such an environment. attractive and profitable fashion. However, if you think the film itself is nonsense (and rightly so), you should hear some behind—the-scenes facts about its production.

For example, I can’t think of a better title (or a more appropriate construction of said title) for this 1997 thriller from legendary action director John Wu than Face/Off, but that’s almost changed. In addition, I think most would agree that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage as fiercely opposed enemies are almost a perfect couple, but they were not the first candidates for the main roles in the film. In fact, one of the applicants for the original casting refused the film after learning that it had a completely different plot than he assumed from the title.

Who was this actor, what did he originally envisage the movie to be about, and how is Adam Wingard possibly going to surpass a movie that’s already so great when he shoots a recently announced sequel? We can confidently answer two of these three questions, as well as many other questions about the creation of “Without a Face” in the next collection of 10 quizzes, including a look into the almost “future” of the film.

Face/Off was originally set in the future

Let’s face it: the idea that Sean Archer played by John Travolta will find similarities with Nicolas Cage as Castor Troy is a bit far-fetched, especially in 1997. An ultra-modern temporary face transplant procedure with such almost imperceptible results sounds as if it would exist for something like 100 years in the future. As it turned out, this was the original plan.

After the news of the upcoming sequel, ShortList scrutinized the Face/Off creation process and reported that the original script by screenwriters Michael Colliery and Mike Werb was set in the future with flying cars and the like to justify an otherwise incredible face. change. However, when John Wu became a director, he decided to modernize the story to focus on its more psychological and emotional elements, leaving most of the futuristic ideas in the design of the prison scenery.

Paramount originally wanted to remove the slash in the title

I sincerely think it’s for the best that Michael Colliery and Mike Verb had to give up many of their futuristic ideas for Face/Off. However, there was one development dispute that the writers, fortunately, won.

According to the breakdown of the Face/Off DVD commentary featuring “Mike” and John Wu, Paramount Pictures had some reservations about the “slash” in the title, as it could be confusing and difficult to display on the cinema poster. The studio was persuaded to leave it when the writers suggested that the audience might think it was about hockey, not an action movie. In addition, not only is there a real 1971 hockey movie released as a Face-Off in Canada, but a later glitch in the casting process will only further prove the writers’ argument.

Johnny Depp Was Interested In Face/Off Before He Realized It Wasn’t a Hockey Movie

At the very beginning of work on the film “Without a Face,” Paramount Pictures wanted to take on the role of Johnny Depp, hoping that this film could become a ticket to blockbuster fame for the 27-year-old guy. In fact, Nicolas Cage has already expressed interest in acting in a thriller, but initially the studio agreed only if Depp could become his partner.

As the analysis of the ShortList shows, the future Oscar-nominated star of Pirates of the Caribbean refused “Without a Face” after reading the script, discovering that the film is not about hockey. If Paramount needed some other reason to keep the slash in the title, they definitely had it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were reportedly considered for the role of Sean Archer and Castor Troy.

Johnny Depp was not the only actor on the original list of contenders for the role of “Without a Face” before John Travolta and Nicolas Cage transferred the hero/villain to the villain/hero roles. In fact, before Cage was officially invited, the studio clearly wanted the likes of Michael Douglas with Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis paired with Alec Baldwin, or even Robert De Niro fighting with his buddy Al Pacino.

Nevertheless, it is reported that among the first to head the thriller in its early stages were the most famous competing action stars of the time: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. The rather obvious and, frankly, rather cool couple didn’t become a reality until the 2013 “The Expendables” franchise and “Escape Plan,” in which they play prisoners teaming up to escape from a futuristic prison. This may be the closest thing to an Arnie/Sly Face/Off movie we’ve ever gotten.