Photo: J. Countess/WireImage/Getty Images

It’s become commonplace to make fun of Nicolas Cage by suggesting that every new role he takes is part of a lengthy and exhausting scheme to pay off his debtors. This is akin to suggesting that a sabre-toothed tiger kills every member of a herd of gazelles just because he’s got so many mouths to feed back at the home cave. No, a tiger kills those gazelles because he is a tiger, driven by forces of instinct beyond his understanding. So too is Cage a force of nature, pushed by unknown inner powers relentlessly towards subpar action thriller after action thriller, savoring the rush of the modestly budgeted lackadaisical project.

Today, the Cage lets out a triumphant howl of victory, for he has landed another cinematic victim. Empire Online reports the actor is starring in a new film that sounds for all the world like a slight reworking of Snakes On A Plane that should be called Exotic Zoo Animals On A Boat. Saddled with the much more generic (and already-taken) name Primal, it features Cage as Frank Walsh, a “legendary big-game tracker” which, sure, that is a known commodity in the world. He captures exotic animals for zoos, and is on his way to deliver his latest haul via a Greek shipping freighter when “a political assassin secretly being extradited back to the US on the ship escapes his guards and releases the animals.”

While those of us who like nature would immediately assume, “Oh, no, the poor animals, he’s going to have to try and save all the rare jaguars and whatnot from the stupid gun-wielding humans,” we would be wrong. Cage will be saving the crew from the rampaging animals, but at least give him a tranquilizer gun or something, for God’s sake. Oh, also he’ll have to stop that political assassin, hopefully with a look of mild exhaustion on his face and a “put the bunny back in the box”-level quip on his lips. Longtime second unit director Nick Powell will be making his feature directorial debut. Filming is set to begin next month in Puerto Rico.


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