Movie directing is in Nicolas Cage's blood. (His uncle Francis Ford Coppola did make this little flick called The Godfather...) So it was inevitable the Oscar-winning actor would want his turn behind the camera. His first filmmaking effort is Sonny (opening Dec. 27) — a dramatic story about a male prostitute (James Franco) who struggles with his trashy trade. Spicy!

"I have to say that it went surprisingly well," boasts the 38-year-old, who originally planned to star in this film 15 years ago. "In terms of the shoot itself, things seemed to fall into place rather smoothly and we were able to do it ahead of schedule and under budget because I had a great team of people."

Cynics might suspect Cage of pumping his esteemed uncle for tips. But Cage — who declines to comment on his marital split with Lisa Marie Presley, by the way — says it ain't so. In fact, he insists Coppola only got involved late in Sonny's development. "It didn't happen until after the movie was already in a rough-cut state," he explains. "Then, I invited Francis to take a look at it, and he loved it and he was excited about the picture. But not a lot came from [our meeting]."

Still, the Oscar-winning director must've had some words of wisdom to impart to his nephew? "The only thing that he said to me was, 'Think of [the film] like a haiku,'" Cage chuckles. "So I said, 'Well, thanks Francis.' But it was actually helpful."