LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The premise of "Face/Off" is both simple and
fantastic. It's also somewhat hard to follow.
A secret surgical procedure allows an FBI agent played by John Travolta to
literally borrow the face of an international terrorist in order to infiltrate
his mob. When the terrorist, played by Nicolas Cage, awakes from a coma,
however, he takes Travolta's face and wreaks havoc with the FBI agent's
The movie gave both actors the opportunity to play the other's character as
well as their own. They emulated each other's persona by watching rough
cuts of the performances to get a better feel for each other's movements.
"When I first met with Nick, I noticed that he had a very distinctive walk,
and I really thought that would be good for the bad guy," Travolta says.
"We were similar enough in style and mannerism that people would
perhaps go with it and believe the operation and transformation without
constantly trying to hit you over the head with mimicry," Cage counters.
In addition to the psychological drama of the storyline, "Face/Off," is pure
action. Director John Woo favors meticulously choreographed explosions
and chase scenes set over computer graphics to keep the audience riveted to
"My action sequence is usually like a ballet dance, always having something
happen, something new, something unexpected for the audience," Woo
While some may find it too far over the top, Travolta advises audiences to
just enjoy the ride.
"I don't think he (had) the intent of violence," Travolta says of Woo. "The
guns are drums and the movement is ballet. The words are poetry and the
music is opera."
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