Long beach  - BTG - Nicolas Cage has revealed that it was his choice to have a real snake in his new film Joe.

The Oscar-winning actor, who has to handle a cottonmouth viper in David Gordon Green’s drama, admitted he wanted to feature a live poisonous reptile rather than a fake.

‘That was a very interesting day. I discovered through doing adventure movies that stunts relax me. I said: ‘Can we get a real one? A real cottonmouth’. And they did have one - and if you get bit by one, you die,’ he told Total Film. ‘David said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘I think it will really relax me. It would help me to get into the scene’. And I happen to think that great story begins with a snake! He said, ‘Yeah, but if you get bit and you die, I’m going to look like the biggest jackass in Hollywood’. I promised him I wouldn’t get bit.’

The 50-year-old, who ate a live cockroach in Vampire’s Kiss, continued: ‘It was all about surfing the adrenaline to get to that moment of picking up the snake. It wasn’t anything to do with the glory of having picked up a real cottonmouth.’ Nicolas also revealed filming Joe was ‘cathartic’ because he didn’t have to act. ‘Joe was really about listening to my memories and not having to act. I didn’t want to act. I just wanted to be. I knew the movie was going to be tough but the process was full of joy. It was cathartic,’ he said.

He added: ‘If I can find characters that I feel I can play honestly, by going within and finding some memory or some life experience that informs the emotion of the scene...then it makes my job easier.’ The film is out on July 25.