Actor Nicolas Cage may be taking on the toughest role of his career: himself.
In the upcoming meta-comedy, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” Cage will be playing a fictional version of himself. The comedy was written and directed by Tom Gormican. It features a down-on-his-luck Nic Cage affecting a one million dollar offer from a wealthy fan (Pedro Pascal) to attend a party in Spain. He suddenly finds himself in a real-life action-adventure that pokes fun of many of his past roles, like “Face/Off” and the “National Treasure” franchise.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cage explains that he rejected the film not just once, but three or four times, when he first heard the pitch.
Nicolas Cage Reveals He Turned Down The Chance To Play Himself… Repeatedly
Cage revealed that he “turned it down three or four times” before an impassioned letter for Gormican eventually won him over. However, when the idea was first presented to him, he said, “I wanted no part of it. But when I got Tom’s letter, then I thought, ‘OK, he’s not just trying to mock so-called Nick Cage; there is a real interest in some of the earlier work.’”
He also revealed that he was hooked on the appearance of “Nicky,” his imaginary alter ego. Cage said he “really responded to the Nicky character, this younger version of myself.”
When asked how similar fictionalized Nic Cage was to his real personality, Cage replied “Not very close. And it’s hard to put family life aside – that is the biggest departure in Tom’s movie. I always put my family first, and I have turned down some enormous opportunities as a result of that.”
Cage added, “Tom’s argument, which is a good one, was, ‘Well, this is a movie. We’re telling a story, and the idea is this character is evolving.’ And I get that, but I have to go on record that that is a pretty big difference. A version of Nic Cage that doesn’t want to spend time with his kid doesn’t exist.”
He also revealed that he does not use as much profanity as Gormican wanted him to use saying, “He’s going me saying the F-bomb every other sentence. Where’s this coming from? That’s not me.”
Nicolas Cage Explains His ‘Mutual Departure’ From Hollywood
Although Cage has received acclaim for his recent role in “Pig,” Cage admits that he faded from the spotlight around the same time he started studying philosophy.
“I started reading a lot of philosophy. I stopped being interested in going to awards shows and selling myself. I made a decision to pursue a life of contemplation,” he explained. “And simultaneously, I had movies like Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Ghost Rider and Drive Angry — three in a row that didn’t work out. There was this marginalization that happened while I was also more interested in philosophy and meditating. So those two things happened at once.”
Although those three films flopped, Cage said that “I don’t think the phone ever stopped ringing.” He added, “Three flops aren’t going to completely eradicate you from Hollywood studios.”
Cage also explained that he feels like a better version of himself when he’s off filming movies.
“I developed this mantra, which is: ‘I never had a career, I only have work.’ And when I say that, I am saying that I’m a better man when I’m working because I don’t want to be that guy that’s sitting by a pool getting bombed on mai tais and Dom Perignon,” he said.
“I have been that guy in between jobs and it’s only fun for maybe two days and then you’re like, ‘I gotta get healthy.’ So work has always been a place where my job is to get up in the morning, to work out, to do 5 to 8 miles on the elliptical, I lift weights, I look at the news, I feed all my animals, and then call my boys,” he continued. “[When I’m on set], I’m focused, I’m working with other actors. I have a very clean life when I’m filming, and that’s important to me.”
When asked if there’s a movie that he regrets, Cage stated, “I don’t have any regret. And when I say that, what I’m trying to say is that I’m applying my mistakes to my present so that I learned to improve on myself and be a better man.”
“And I do think every movie I’ve made that hasn’t worked has all led me to this place where I’m at now, where I can do a movie like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and I can tell the story with some integrity and authenticity to it,” he continued. “Everything happened for a reason. I have to look at it like that because that’s the healthiest and most positive way of looking at it.”