Nicolas Cage is a man of mystery. His filmography is an enigma. His personal life, a labyrinth. His mind, a puzzle box. We may never completely understand his reasoning or motivation, which is what makes him the Cage we know and love.
There's something about the dichotomy of being so entirely obvious, and yet wholly ambiguous, that gives Cage's performance a little extra magic. Every eccentric role he takes on or piece of hot celebrity gossip that's unearthed about him slots comfortably into the stereotype of Cage, despite the fact that all of his moves seem wildly different. Whether he's buying a famously haunted house in New Orleans or playing himself in a movie that's almost entirely about him, it all feels right and wrong. That's what makes him so fun to watch.
Despite All My Cage
Cage has been busy recently. In 2021 alone, he's starred in two completely different films — "Willy's Wonderland" and "Pig" — and his 2022 is shaping up to be just as frenetic. There's "The Retirement Plan" which follows Cage and Ashley Greene as they do some wild crime boss antics in the Cayman Islands. Then there's the impeccably named "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," which is exactly what you think it is while being not at all what you imagined at the exact same time.
The film finds Cage playing an amped-up, anxious version of himself (shocker), who also happens to have some pretty severe money issues. Things quickly go off the rails when he accepts a cool $1 million to make an appearance at a fan/drug kingpin's birthday party (the fan/kingpin is played by Pedro Pascal, which is almost the wildest part of this movie's synopsis).
Cage Against The Machine
While more than a few actors have taken on roles that are versions of themselves, Cage still seems to be struggling with how to contextualize the character. In an interview with Collider, he said:
"I'm never going to see that movie. I'm told it's a good movie. My manager, Mike Nilon, who is also a producer on it, looked at it. He was very happy. I'm told the audience loved the movie. But it's just too much of a whacked-out trip for me to go to a movie theater and watch me play Tom Gormican's highly-neurotic, anxiety-ridden version of me. Because he kept pushing me in that direction."
Like almost every Nicolas Cage movie, there's a lot to unpack here. I have to admit, watching any movie you star in sounds like a nightmare. Like most people, I can't stand to listen to recordings of my own voice, but beyond that, the idea that strangers on the Internet have read anything I've ever written is also kind of terrifying. To do this job, a thing I love very deeply, part of my brain has to pretend that I'm shouting into the void. I could never watch myself in a movie. I've never felt more connected to Cage than in this very moment.
On the other hand, hearing Cage describe the film as a "whacked-out trip" is an excellent selling point and I think they should use that quote in any and all promotional materials.
Tears Of Cage
In the same interview, Cage opens up a little bit further, explaining the differences between him and his character (who is also him) and dropping a delicious morsel of info that I can't stop thinking about:
"I said 'Tom, that's not really me. I'm really [made of] quiet, meditative, thoughtful moments. I'm not this neurotic, high-strung, anxiety-ridden guy all the time.' But he said, 'well, neurotic Cage is the best Cage.' I said, 'okay, okay. Let's go, man. I'll do what you want.' I won't see it. But I do hope you enjoy it."
Has Calm or Headspace or any of those other meditation apps heard this? Because they should be paying Cage to lead a meditation exercise ASAP. I'm filled with marketing ideas and I cannot be stopped.
Anyway, I think the biggest and also the best thing that came out of this interview is the bonkers line: "Well, neurotic Cage is the best Cage." It's incredible. I cannot believe there is at least one person in Cage's life who talks to him like he's the walking Nicolas Cage meme. I mean he is, but also he's clearly not. It's complicated like that.
If "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" is as wild of a ride as Cage makes it sound, its April 22, 2022 release date cannot come soon enough.
Read this next: Nicolas Cage Says He'll Never Retire, And There Was Much Rejoicing
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