The moment Nicolas Cage became an internet sensation coincided, interestingly enough, with the lowest point of his career. It doesn’t matter that he came from a family as famous as the Coppolas (his aunt and uncle are Talia Shire and Francis Ford Coppola), that he starred in undeniable Hollywood blockbusters and that he even won an Oscar: in the late noughties, Cage’s debts led him to switch to more questionable roles, destined for low-budget productions with little critical appreciation that the actor was starring in at a dizzying pace. Until the rediscovery took place.
Thanks to titles like Mandy or Color Out of Space, the Face/Off star is currently experiencing a second golden age, which nowadays is confirmed with a film like Pig. This heartwarming drama in which Cage searches for his lost pig has garnered critical acclaim, with the lead performance being highly praised. The same one that brought Cage to the Variety podcast, where he goes on to credit Michael Sarnoski (director of Pig) with saving his career. The actor believes, in fact, that Hollywood has marginalized him for years, and he feels very comfortable making independent films.
“I knew after a couple of flops that I had been marginalized in the studio system; and I wasn’t going to get invited by them,” he explains during the interview. “I always knew that it would take a young filmmaker who would come back or remember some movies I had made and know that I might be right for his script and rediscover me. And that’s why he’s not just Michael, he’s Archangel Michael. This wouldn’t be happening if he didn’t have the open mind to say, ‘Come with me.’” Cage has also delved in his particular acting style, which he now refers to as “thespian.” And what does that mean? Well, according to Cage…
“You’re going into your heart, or you’re going into your imagination, or your memories or your dreams, and you’re bringing something back to communicate with the audience.” In that sense, Cage’s aunt Talia Shire, who starred in the Rocky and The Godfather sagas, was heavily influential. “It was my aunt Talia Shire who first said to me, ‘Naturalism is a style.’ And I was also a big believer in arts synchronicity, and that what you could do with one art form you could do in another.”
“You know, in painting, for example, you can get abstract, you can get photorealistic, you can get impressionistic, why not try that with film performance?” This style of acting is the same one that has made him irresistible to meme culture, and therefore the one that led to the inception of a project as outlandish as The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, where Cage plays himself. Directed by Tom Gormican and co-starring Pedro Pascal and Tiffany Haddish, Cage refuses to see it because it could be “too much of a whacked-out trip,” but hopes that the public will enjoy it.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is set for release on April 22.