Nicolas Cage Is So Scary in Longlegs, He Freaked Out His Co-Star

Longlegs hasn’t yet hit theaters—July 12 is the big day—but the creatively creepy marketing alone is enough to give a person nightmares. The latest trick in Neon’s big book of scare tactics is to release audio charting Maika Monroe’s actual heartbeat from the first time she saw Nicolas Cage in character as the titular serial killer.

Sure, it’s a big moment, as Monroe’s FBI agent character is finally able to confront her long-sought quarry, and probably some of the palpitations are due to the pressure the actor was feeling about engaging in such a tense, pivotal scene opposite an Oscar winner. But you also have to assume that some of it was the fact that he’s just so agonizingly off-putting. Check out the video here, which helpfully pastes a black box over Cage’s face to avoid spoilers.

The first time Maika Monroe saw Nicolas Cage as Longlegs, her heart rate hit 170 bpm.

LONGLEGS opens in theaters Friday:

— ↃL⊥Ↄ—ᘰ (@LonglegsFilm) July 8, 2024

As writer-director Osgood Perkins explained in an interview with io9, he didn’t actually have any input into Longlegs‘ marketing campaign, though he’s been very pleased with the way it captures the eerie spirit of his film. He also talked about how Monroe and Cage actually only share one scene together—the scene you see excerpted above—in a sequence that maximizes the contrast not just between their characters, but also their acting styles. She’s more reserved and interior; he’s well, he’s Nic Cage. “I was conscious of the fact that I had two very counterweight, counterbalancing energies,” Perkins said. “Luckily, I was able narratively to keep them apart … then when they do connect, it’s a very charged moment. And so their opposite charges work even better.”

So charged, apparently, that Monroe had a very physical reaction to Cage’s appearance. And if a trained performer got such a shock from seeing him, imagine how movie audiences are going to feel! You can push the limits of your own circulatory system, and possibly your ability not to pee your pants in terror, when Longlegs arrives this Friday, July 12.

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