What Nicolas Cage Actually Cooks In This Important 'Pig' Scene

Set for release on July 16, the new movie "Pig" stars Nicolas Cage as an avant-garde French chef turned truffle forager who's in search of his kidnapped animal in Oregon. To add realism to the foodie-heavy film, the production team hired Gabriel Rucker, the founder and chef of Portland's groundbreaking Le Pigeon, to serve as a consultant.

Talking with Eater, Rucker explained that the meal Cage serves in the trailer (as seen on YouTube) features pigeon with foraged wild mushrooms and huckleberries. "I thought about a dish that would use some fun techniques for the camera," Rucker said. "So searing the pigeon breast in a cast iron pan and adding garlic and thyme, and basting it with bubbling butter, which is a very French technique — that can be filmed in a romantic and stylized way."

As well, Rucker helped Cage know how to deal with the wild mushrooms. "He's a forager in this movie and so I had great chanterelle mushrooms around for him to tear and smell," Rucker explained. "He really romanticized the movements, so I just helped it to become more realistic." It is all, according to Rucker, a very Oregon-feeling dish. (The movie was filmed onsite in the state, divided between the Oregon wilderness and high-end restaurants in Portland, says Eater.)

Rucker, however, was not involved in the food the cast and crew actually ate as Hollywood unions work with contracted catering companies. That being said, he thinks that the actors actually ate the cooked pigeon in the shot.

Nicolas Cage took direction well from the chef consultant

When it came to honing Nicolas Cage's cooking scenes, Rucker seems to have taken a relaxed approach. As anyone that has watched his films knows, Cage takes an expressionist stance in his portrayals. So, Rucker told Eater he wanted to introduce a lot of realism to Cage's movements, which the actor was all too willing to accept. 

"He wasn't too cool for school," said Rucker, adding, "I took him through the movements of cooking the dish, we talked, and he spent some time in the kitchen with me. And then when it was time, it was like their final big day of shooting. On set, I helped stage the kitchen, and helped him remember the movements. I also got to consult on the movements on camera, like, 'Do this, turn this way with the pan, and do it like that.' I got to be very involved, I felt, in that final shoot of him cooking the food. It was super fun to get to be able to do something like that out of my element."

As Rucker was reading the script and working with Cage, he said he saw similarities to his own career as a pioneer at the groundbreaking Le Pigeon where he also works with interesting ingredients. "Honestly, I just thought about the kind of food I was cooking at Le Pigeon in 2006 and 2007 when we were just starting. It seems like Portland in the late '90s, early 2000s is what [the production crew] were chasing after. And so I just thought about what I would cook back in 2006 or 2007."

"Pig" opens July 16 in theaters and video on demand.