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Nicolas Cage becomes Frumpy Krueger in 'Dream Scenario'

Nicolas Cage in<em> Dream Scenario</em>.
Nicolas Cage in Dream Scenario.

Paul Matthews is a tenured professor at a small college, but he's not an especially memorable person: sorta boring, kinda schlubby But for some reason, he keeps showing up in people's dreams. Not just people that know him either; all over the world, people start dreaming of Paul Matthews.

Matthews enjoys the notoriety — at least, until those dreams turn to nightmares.

That's the premise of the new film Dream Scenario, starring Nicolas Cage.

At the beginning of the film, Matthews longs to be more than just a teacher. He craves recognition for his years of research into evolutionary biology. "I think he has some delusions of grandeur," as writer/director Kristoffer Borgli told NPR's A Martinez. "And I think that's the type of character that would welcome this sort of attention, even if it came from a very strange place, like popping up in people's dreams."

The dreams are as vivid and disorienting as any - with crocodiles crawling around or explosions going off - but no matter what's happening, Paul Matthews doesn't really do much of anything. He's just kinda... hangin' out.

Still, he becomes a worldwide curiosity. In short order, his kids finally think he's cool (or at least, they're not as mortified by him). Attendance at his lectures surges. His students pepper him with questions. Matthews starts walking a little taller with his newfound popularity.

But almost as soon as he starts leveraging that into interview appearances and book deals, Matthews becomes more active in people's dreams. And he's not behaving very well. He tortures. He murders. Borgli says, "Of course, living in everyone's head as a sort of Freddy Krueger accidentally starts becoming a big problem."

Dream Scenario examines the fickle nature of fame, especially in the social media age. Borgli says that - while it's noble to want recognition for our achievements - "I think that natural desire has been weaponized against us with the advent of the Internet and how many opportunities there are to make a platform for yourself. And I think that's the unhealthy road to an empty-calorie version of accomplishment."

<em>Dream Scenario</em> writer/director Kristoffer Borgli
Strategy PR
Dream Scenario writer/director Kristoffer Borgli

Dream Scenario opens November 10.

Lilly Quiroz produced the audio version of this story contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Phil Harrell is a producer with Morning Edition, NPR's award-winning newsmagazine. He has been at NPR since 1999.