Nicholas Cage's pastor brother told him to do Left Behind movie

Nicholas Cage as Captain Rayford Steele in Left Behind.CBMTrailers YouTube screenshot

Nicholas Cage has revealed that he made the decision to star in the Left Behind movie on the advice of his brother, who is a church pastor.

The film, which premiers in the US on October 3, is an adaptation of the best-selling Christian book series by Jerry B Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

The Academy-Award winning actor plays Rayford Steele, an airline pilot whose wife and son are taken in the rapture. 

"My brother, Marc, is a Christian pastor, and he was very excited about this," Cage told reporters at a press conference. "He said, you know, Nicky, you've really got to do this.

"I'd already wanted to make the movie because I thought it was such a great script and an opportunity again to do something challenging, but when I saw how passionate [Marc] was, I thought, well, yeah, I want to make this movie for my brother, too."

Cage made similar comments in a clip that was released on Facebook. In the film he stars alongside Chad Michael Murray, best known for playing Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill.

Cage's brother, Marc Coppola, is also an actor and radio DJ.

Left Behind has already been adapted for the screen, in a series of four films starring Christian actor Kirk Cameron released on DVD from 2000-2006.

In an interview with WND, the producer and writer for Left Behind film projects, Paul Lalonde, said the new film is making the most of the opportunities afforded by a bigger budget and more high profile actors.

"I've found Bible prophecy to be a great way to reach out to people who may not necessarily be open to evangelism, so we were excited about [the first] 'Left Behind' and how it did, but ever since then I wanted to do something bigger," he said.

"I wanted to put Bible prophecy on the big screen rather than just on videos, to put the message of Bible prophecy in front of a much broader audience, and not just church-goers."

It's not just a flashy remake, however. Rather than trying to using the whole plot of the first Left Behind novel, the big screen version just focuses on the day of the rapture, and has a totally different script.

"What I like about Left Behind is that it is a Bible-based movie, it's a biblical story, it's a true story – it just hasn't happened yet," Lalonde said.

"It is a biblical movie like 'Noah' or 'Son of God' or 'Exodus,' but nobody's in sandals. This is the modern world. This is today. And the great thing about the rapture and about the immanency of the rapture is this could literally happen this afternoon," he said.