NEW YORK – “Megapolis”. Bruce Lee. Woody Woodpecker. Domestic cobra. All of these things were the inspiration for Nicolas Cage’s performances – sometimes private tributes of respect that the actor used as drawings to build some of his most exaggerated, chaotic, and influential characters.
The conversation with Cage also comes from a wide range of sources. In a recent and usually extensive pre-release interview “The unbearable weight of great talents” Cage touched on Picasso, Elia Kazan, Timothy Shalame and Francis Bacon. For example, Bacon’s book, The Cruelty of Facts, helped Cage identify his involvement in an intense, even grotesque, performance – “something that is not obviously beautiful,” he says – rather than naturalism.
“And I kind of approached my public perception, as well as how I develop my work in film as an actor, with that concept in mind – not afraid to be ugly in behavior or even appearance,” Cage says. “To create some flavor that you have to discover.”
With more than 100 films, the 58-year-old Cage is an Oscar winner (Leaving Las Vegas), a Con Air star and a source of countless internet memes for his most theatrical moments in films such as Face. / Off “has long been one of the most special tastes in cinema. However, as a “surrealist amateur,” as he calls himself, Cage became – even after resorting to a number of VOD releases to pay off taxes and get rid of debt – as one of Hollywood’s favorite stars. As the director of “Unbearable Weight” Tom Gormican says, “the look on his face makes people happy.”
But even for the unchanging Cage, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” which opened in cinemas on Friday, represents something else. In it, Cage plays himself. Or rather, it plays a mirror version of itself that sometimes interacts with a younger version of itself. The film is one of the big bows to Cage, in which the actor manages to satirize the image of himself, and sincerely play these characters.
“A cross-cutting line that has always been for me: whether I designed it and it was a design, funny – and often funny – or sublime, it needs to be informed with genuine emotional content,” Cage says. .
“No matter how broad and what some people like to call from above, it was a real feeling.”
But what for Cage is the top? This is the actor who, directing Naspherat in “The Vampire Kiss”, gave one of the craziest declarations of the alphabet I have ever heard. He likes to answer, “Well, show me where the top is, and I’ll tell you when I’m over it.”
“I grew up in a house where my mom did what if you put it in a movie, you’d say it’s too much,” says Cage, whose mother, Joy Coppola, was a dancer and choreographer. His father, August Kopala, Francis’ brother, was a professor of literature.
“But what is the top? If you want to develop something and think about different styles – naturalism, impressionism, surrealism, abstraction – then you start to look at it differently. It won’t be for everyone, and it won’t necessarily sell tickets. But that’s okay. “
“Cinema is a business, and I went on this path not without danger, but for me it was important,” he added. “I followed this and, of course, a lot of rotten tomatoes were thrown in my face. But I knew it would happen, so I didn’t expect anything. “
But what’s unusual about Cage is that there are a lot of such experiments to have sold tickets. There are many of them. Cage’s films have grossed nearly $ 5 billion worldwide. However, it’s been a long time since he was a major in a major studio film.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” which premiered at Lionsgate in South by Southwest to get warm reviews, allows him to play around with the idea of returning. He desperately wants better roles in the film than at the $ 1 million birthday party. The film was an occasion to fight – usually comically, sometimes physically – with his own exaggerated mythology.
“He came up to me and said (lowers his voice)“ Tom, there’s a guy who wears rings and leather jackets and he lives in Las Vegas and he would never say that phrase, ”Gormican recalls. “And I’d say, ‘Oh, you mean you.’ He would say, “Yes.” And I would say, “Well, it’s not you.” This is a character based on you. ” And he said, “But he has my name.” I said, “Come on, man, just say the line.”
“We would discuss who understood Nick Cage better,” Garmican adds, laughing.
Initially, Cage denied Gormican several times before a candid letter finally convinced the actor to make the film. The point was that Cage, even in his strangest form, never put quotes around his performances. He strives to fully invest in even the most untidy characters. (Werner Herzog “Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans” Cage initially feared that the Gormican film would be a mocking parody, and although it has these elements, Cage is directing it in more unpredictable directions.
“Without naming names, there were some actors who came out of the gate who, in my opinion, were really sincere, deeply emotional and honest, and then became too demanding,” says Cage. “They started winking at the public and, in my opinion, she lost her emotional connection. If you decide you want to be emotional and raw, it’s a slippery slope. “
The actor really reaches some gonza heights in the film. After one scene Gormican was honored to hear Cage say, “It was Full Cage. You got a full cage. ” Another scene shows two Cages swearing, after which the younger one exclaims, “Nick Cage smokes well!”
Cage’s own exotic tastes – he once had to return a dinosaur skull he bought that had been stolen from Mongolia – contributed to his legend. But he insists that he is normal in his life, so can be extreme in his work – and that some of his self-promotions like infamous appearance on “Wogan”, himself was an act.
Last year, Cage married Rick Shibata, his fifth wife, and they are expecting a baby. (Cage also has two adult sons; an important point in “Unbearable Weight” was that he was not shown as a part-time father – one fiction Cage would not allow.) After an unusually introspective press tour for the film Cage is looking forward to returning to the desert outside of Las Vegas, where he lives. He could take a break from Nick Cage.
But “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” completes the actor’s section. He finally came out of the downside after making about 30 films on demand over the past decade to pay off the IRS and its creditors. He does not apologize for these films. They made him a better actor, he says.
“I was engaged. I managed to keep access to my imagination at my fingertips. For me, it was a much better way to get out of this financial crisis than to do something like a Super Bowl commercial – and believe what they offered, “says Cage.” It was also important to me that I’m not a salesman, I’m an actor. “
Cage may also feel some basic impulse again. His performance in last year’s film “Pig” as a gray truffle hunter with the past received some of his best reviews in recent years. It was a more naturalistic performance than Cage usually is – and a reminder of its boundless range. Starting professionally at age 15, Cage recalls having been doing this for a long time. For him, the path began, decently, with a daring performance.
Cage’s father, the actor says, has had a huge impact on him, revealing books, early films and paintings to him. But he could cut his son in words.
“And I just wasn’t going to accept that,” Cage says. “I knew he thought of me more than he allowed. I cheated on him once and I did something I never did again. I lied. I said, “Dad, I wrote this song.” And I played him Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Going Out With Hi”? And he believed me. He said, “Nicki, this is incredible.” Then I received positive confirmation that I needed to believe in myself. That was the only time a lie saved me. “