Nicolas Cage & John Travolta To Face Off In SHRAPNEL?

Let's be honest - Nicolas Cage and John Travolta haven't exactly been picky with their film choices lately and the days when either man could command a big box office opening from their star statuses' alone are a distant memory. Cage has already endured two failures and we're only three months into 2011 with the consecutive flops Season of the Witch and Drive Angry whilst Travolta's scowling and "I'm trying to be so intense and crazy because it will make me seem evil" performance in actioners From Paris With Love and The Talking of Pelham 123 couldn't save either film from struggling in the red. In both men's cases, audiences seem to have finally understood that for way too long they have been taking the easiest scripts with the largest paychecks paperclipped to them and their similar routine of eccentric, crazy-haired and over-the-top action performances instead of creating actual, defined characters has now completely run it's course. Once upon a time though these cheesy, dumb but immensely watchable performances were something a bit different and were actually rather cool, in a knowing, wink-wink, absurd way and I'm certain there'll be many reading this story right now who remember Travolta & Cage's riff of each other's persona's in John Woo's 1997 B-movie classic Face/Off quite fondly. And the idea that both men are looking to team together for an indie movie (see - 'no longer command big box office opening' above) that seems to have been inspired by Face/Off, is oddly exciting. Vulture says Cage & Travotla are circling the action thriller Shrapnel based on a Black List approved screenplay by hot property writer Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsmen) which centers on a former Bosnian solider who wants revenge on an American soldier who wounded him. The movie is eyeing a June start date and although no director is attached, it was previously in the hands of Die Hard director John McTiernan, until a prison sentence scuppered his plans. The movie sounds like the kind of ramped up, cat and mouse thriller they made 15 years ago and McTiernan, at least in his peak, would have relished the premise, I'm sure. He still might direct it too - he was clearly expecting to when he attached himself in September, and his $100,000 fine and 1 year prison sentence that was given in October for perjuring himself to the FBI is still under appeal (he is free on bail) and if he manages to overturn the conviction, presumably he would be ready to direct this. Perhaps that's why he was never replaced in the chair? If Shrapnel doesn't go ahead, there is another project that Cage & Travolta are trying to get off the ground and that's a Chuck Roven produced thriller titled Sea Trial, based on a screenplay by Raymond De Felitta who has adapted his own father's novel which is a murder story set on a yacht which sounds a lot like Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil and Billy Zane thriller Dead Calm. Shrapnel sounds the more interesting (maybe because it's more developed?) and yeah, as much as we've rag-tagged both Travolta and Cage lately... we do agree... the idea of both of them going bat-shit crazy with each other is something we'd see in a heartbeat.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.