Nicolas Cage Gets Serious About the BP Oil Spill In the The Runner Trailer

When was the last time you took Nicolas Cage seriously? If you didn’t see Joe, then your answer might be Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Well, he’s back in Louisiana in a new movie where he looks like he’s trying. That previous one also took place in the aftermath of a disaster, Hurricane Katrina. This one, titled The Runner, is set during the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Cage seems to be interested in and show more respect for true stories of tragedies. See World Trade Center for another.

In The Runner, Cage plays a congressman representing people affected by the spill. Some of the new trailer for the movie makes him seem like an Erin Brockovich type as he fights his own Goliath – represented by Sal from Mad Men (Bryan Batt) – as he also deals with a sex scandal that has damaged his career. Connie Nielsen plays Cage’s character’s wife and Sarah Paulsen and Peter Fonda both co-star as his allies. Wendell Pierce is in the movie, too, because it is set in Louisiana.

This is the feature directorial debut of Austin Stark (whose name we love simply because it’s like a combination of our HQ city and a character on Game of Thrones), who also wrote the screenplay. He’s previously been known as a producer, of such indie favorites as Happythankyoumoreplease and this year’s Infinitely Polar Bear, as well as Werner Herzog’s other 2009 drama, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.

It is also the first of the non-documentary BP oil spill movies to arrive, the other being Deepwater Horizon, due next year. This one is a fictional story, though, and not totally about that environmental disaster. The incident also inspired an episode of The Newsroom, which offered a fictional look at its media coverage.

The Runner hits theaters in limited release on August 7th.

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Christopher began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called 'Read,' back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials.