For years, Nicolas Cage became a bit of a meme. He starred in outlandish films and gave even more outlandish performances. But even at the seemingly lowest moments of his acting career, Cage doesn’t regret anything. And he shouldn’t, as those movies paid the bills and kept the legendary actor afloat.
Sitting down with GQ Magazine, the very-candid actor opened up about his years of making straight-to-video movies. He said the decision to move to those films came when “the phone stopped ringing” with offers for studio movies.
“It was like, ‘What do you mean we’re not doing National Treasure 3? It’s been 14 years. Why not?'” Cage said to GQ. “Well, Sorcerer’s Apprentice didn’t work, and Ghost Rider didn’t really sell tickets. And Drive Angry, that just came and went.”
Though, he doesn’t seem in a rush to go back to big-budget Hollywood fare of decades ago. “I enjoy making movies like Pig and Leaving Las Vegas more than I enjoy making movies like National Treasure,” he said. Cage earned some awards buzz from his role in 2021’s Pig, scoring a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards.
The honesty of the GQ interview didn’t slow down; he opened up about the debts he faced when the significant roles stopped coming in, and the harsh reality of life started to set in more. “I’ve got all these creditors and the IRS, and I’m spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mother out of a mental institution, and I can’t,” Cage said about his debts. “It was just all happening at once.”
Cage expressed that he didn’t want to get to the point where he needed to file for bankruptcy, so he moved to an avenue of film that would allow him to keep working. This then led to his modern era of bizarre video-on-demand movies like Mandy, Color Out of Space, and Willy’s Wonderland. Thankfully, Cage took this work seriously and put his all into each performance.
“When I was doing four movies a year, back to back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all,” Cage said. “They didn’t work, all of them. Some of them were terrific, like Mandy, but some of them didn’t work. But I never phoned it in. So if there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring.”
SEE ALSO: See Nicolas Cage as Count Dracula in Renfield set photos
Nicolas Cage is gearing up for The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which opens on April 22nd. The new film is already gaining buzz after its SXSW Film Festival. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent sees Cage playing a fictionalized version of himself, and critics are already hailing it as one of his best works yet.