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For Nicolas Cage, it was the surprises in the script and how real the emotions were in all the characters that got his attention. "My first reaction after reading the script was how incredibly honest it is,” remembers Cage. "It has lots of twists and turns and it often surprised me to the extent that I didn't know which way it was going to turn out. As for the character I portray, David Spritz gives me an opportunity to express some real emotional range and play someone I've never played before.”

Director Gore Verbinski, fresh off his success of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” was eager to work with Cage, particularly because the screenplay called for subtle shifts in performance, perfect for an actor of his caliber.

"There's no one better suited to play a guy like David Spritz than Nic Cage,” says Verbinski. "The role calls for someone who can bring both pathos and humor into his performance and Nic's absolutely brilliant at that.”

Cage was equally as enthusiastic about working with Verbinsk.i and called their collaboration a labor of love. "Gore and I had a terrific rapport on the set and we both saw an opportunity to do some experimenting with this film,” remembers Cage. "I really don't want to reveal all the things we tried, but let's just say that people will be happily surprised when they see this movie.

While Cage found himself a little surprised by how difficult it is to play a weatherman, claiming that he was simply given a clicker one day and told to "figure out the geography,” he was even more taken aback by the magnetic presence of this co-star, two-time Academy Award® winner Michael Caine.

"Michael definitely conveys an aura of intimidation, a rather stern presence, which is very appropriate for portraying David Spritz's dad,” observes Cage. "Also, he's one of those actors who is a master of not blinking and he's got these ice blue eyes.. .so when my character is supposed to have trouble meeting his father's gaze, it really comes across as real.”

Director Verbinski offers that Caine brings a magnitude to the role that no other actor could have. "Michael has the ability to carry nobility without being cold. Because of the nature of how brilliant his character is, that's extremely important.”

For Caine, signing on to play David Spritz's dad was a no-brainer, given the quality of the script, the director and the other actors with whom he'd be working. "Someone once said ‘a man is judged by the company he keeps,' and this is very good company,” says Caine. "As for the script, it brought me from laughter to tears and back again. It's one of those movies that's not a comedy, a drama or a tragedy — it's all those things, because that's what real life is.”

Golden Globe nominee Hope Davis, who portrays Noreen, David Spritz's ex-wife, couldn't agree more. "This film is a very naked look at American culture that deals with some very real, sometimes painful issues, in a very humorous way. It's actually quite a brave movie that tells a very moving story,” observes Davis. "And it's got some really juicy moments that people are going to love.”

Davis also has tremendous admiration for Cage, whose performance she says is not only amazing but could not have been achieved by any other actor. "Nic created such a sympathetic character and portrayed him in such a funny way!” exclaims Davis. "I mean, poor David Spritz tries to do everything right and he just doesn't have a clue!”

Director Verbinski points out that Davis' portrayal of Noreen is crucial to the depiction of family and what the loss of it means to David Spritz. "As David's ex-wife, Hope has to play both sides of their disintegrating relationship,” says Verbinski. "On the one hand, she makes the audience want them to get back together, but at the same time, she shows us that it could never work. Hope is an

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