2019 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival: ‘Uncaged: A Stand-in Story’
Documentaries about the film industry gives us a chance to go behind the curtain and see what’s going on in our favorite films. Today’s featured documentary from the 2019 Melbourne International Documentary Film Festival lets us go behind the scenes of Nicholas Cage’s stand-in in Uncaged: A Stand-in Story.
Marco Kyris worked as Nicholas Cage’s stand in for a decade, from 1994 to 2004. He worked with him on Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off, Con Air, and even National Treasure. Kyris was an aspiring actor himself, who landed the first gig as Cage’s stand-in through an extras agency.
For those unfamiliar with the role of a stand-in, Uncaged: A Stand-in Story describes it as a person is hired who has a similar look & build to a main actor in order to film minor shots the lead isn’t expressly needed for. For example, in Gone in 60 Seconds, Kyris’s leg is the one seen kicking Christopher Eccleston off the warehouse walkway, not Cage’s.
Kyris worked with Cage for the first time on Trapped in Paradise, in which he helped Cage by observing how the shots were set up and giving Cage information about how to position himself better. This tactic led Cage to ask Kyris to be his permanent stand-in. For the next 10 years, Kyris worked with Cage on 19 other films!
In Uncaged: A Stand-in Story, Kyris reflects back on his career as a stand-in and demonstrates what he learned about Cage from working with him. He mimics his mannerisms, shares anecdotes about his time on set, and describes how Cage worked.
Kyris worked with Cage during the “Summer of Cage” in the mid-90s when The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off all premiered. Cage had to learn each role quickly, and Kyris shared how amazing it was to watch him quickly develop each character.
But Uncaged: A Stand-in Story isn’t just about Nic Cage – it’s about Kyris. Kyris discusses his real-estate business and how he had twelve properties while his double (Cage) was getting into trouble for his real-estate business. By the time Kyris retired from acting in 2004, he had his own business to fall back on.
We were blessed to interview Kyris himself, the producer, subject, and star of Uncaged: A Stand-in Story. We asked him about the film and its Austrailian debut at the 2019 Melbourne International Documentary Film Festival.
Where did you get the idea for Uncaged: A Stand-in Story?
I often thought about doing this story in this format a decade ago – I had it planned out in my mind for that long. I wanted to do a short, and truly open up about my life as a stand-in working for this A-list actor with the trials and tribulations of this position and life in the film business. This is why I hired a few guys to tell it my way.
When did you begin production?
It was only a two-day shoot last August (2018). A couple days of prep too, but most of the work went into the post-production in edits, using my content and photos too to pull it all together.
Did you have access to relevant archive materials?
The film clips were taken from the real films of course. The call sheets and set photos, etc. are all mine from over the years. I chose the music, and had help with the two directors on the soundtracks.
Why is it important that Uncaged: A Stand-in Story’s tale is revealed now?
I think it was always important, but I was building up the guys with stories to put together in this Q&A type of film. It was long overdue, but seems to be out there at the right time now.
Tell us about your involvement in MDFF.
I couldn’t be more thrilled that they accepted my film into their prestigious doc film fest. They have been very accommodating.
What’s your next project?
Next I’m working on producing and writing this short into a feature documentary, then also as a fictional feature film.
Where can our readers see Uncaged: A Stand-in Story?
It’s screening at MDFF on July 19th.
See Uncaged: A Stand-in Story at the Melbourne International Documentary Film Festival on July 19th at 11pm at Cinema Nova. Buy tickets here.