Thu, Dec 16, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Contented Cage presses the flesh in Taipei

The Hollywood star, accompanied by director Jerry Bruckheimer, met the press and watched the Taiwan premier of his own movie

STAFF WRITER

Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger pose during a media promotion for their film National Treasure, in Taipei, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

National Treasure stars Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha and Diane Kruger joined the director Jerry Bruckheimer and producer Jon Turteltaub yesterday at Taipei's Grand Hyatt where they met with the press before heading off to attend the movie's Taiwan premiere at the Xinyi branch of Warner Village.

Cage dismissed claims, reportedly originating in the US media, that he was suffering from a minor illness and assured members of the media that he was not at all "under the weather."

The local gutter press attempted to pry into his personal life, asking several questions about his recent marriage Cage politely shot them down with a simple, "I'm content."

He had warmer words for those who turned out to greet him at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport on Tuesday. While the star and his new wife, 20-year-old South Korean-American Alice Kim, were mobbed by screaming fans as they made their way through the airport terminal he was -- unlike other recent celebrity arrivals -- unperturbed by the gathering and thanked everyone for "a warm reception on my first visit to Taiwan."

In addition to it being Cage's first visit to Taiwan, it was also a first for co-stars Kruger and Bartha, as well as for director Bruckheimer. This visit marked the third time Producer Turteltaub has visited Taiwan. Filming National Treasure was the first time that all three movie stars had worked with each each other and was, according to Cage, great fun.

"Diane is a lot of fun to work with and has a great off-the-wall sense of humor," Cage said. "The three of us took a trip to Bourbon Street in New Orleans and bonded. This set the tone for the movie and made for a lighter tone."

National Treasure is the fourth collaboration between Cage and Bruckheimer in eight years and follows other hugely successful action-flick partnerships, including Gone in 60 Seconds and Con Air.

"[Cage] is a great collaborator and he helps by sharing ideas," said the award-winning director. "He's brilliant, handsome, great on screen and he creates a unique partnership with which to work."

The movie has remained at the number one spot at the US box office for four consecutive weeks and has grossed over US$100 million in the weeks since its release. And with a global release set for this weekend movie industry insiders are already expecting it to surpass box office sales for the 1996 Bruckheimer/Cage action blockbuster, The Rock.

"I'm a student of movies and I like to entertain audiences and ask them to take a journey with us," said Bruckheimer. "It's hard work and we all worked really hard, but we had no idea that it would explode the way it did."

The movie features Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a man obsessed with finding mythical treasure plundered by the Knights Templar during the Crusades. Guarded by the Freemasons for centuries, the treasure he seeks was hidden by the leaders of the American Revolution in the 1700s.

Along with co-stars Bartha (Riley Poole) and Kruger (Dr Abigail Chase) Cage is tasked with following a series of clues in order to find the lost artifact before an evil English treasure hunter Ian Howe, played by Sean Bean, finds it and sells it on the black market.

National Treasure opens in theaters tomorrow, when it will also be reviewed in the Taipei Times.

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