How does Nicolas Cage feel about being marginalized by the industry after a couple of flops at the box office?
by Ana Walia | Thu, 06 Jan 2022 21:42:37 GMT
Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter

An actor's journey entails a variety of activities, but it is primarily comprised of films that may or may not perform well at the box office. If they succeed, the public and critics remember and appreciate their work; however, if the film fails to perform well at the box office, the performers are quickly sidelined, and room for more actors is created.

One such actor is Oscar-winning, Nicolas Cage who started his career with ‘Valley Girl’ in 1983 has seen his share of profitable movies that managed to impress not only the audience but the critics too. But at the same time, Nicolas Cage also remembered that he has several box office disappointments too that made him aware of the craft he has been putting his mind and soul into. 

Recently during Variety’s Award Circuit podcast, the Oscar-winning actor reflected and shared his thoughts on how the culture of being marginalized by the industry after his various flop movies led him to return to the indie film roots, with one such movie; ‘Pig’. 

'Pig' is an American film written and directed by newcomer, Michael Sarnoski. Nicolas Cage plays a character named Rob, who is a melancholic truffle forager and the story explores Rob’s connection to his pet pig and his tortured relationship with his past self as a renowned chef. The movie has received a positive response from critics and the audience and Nicolas Cage’s acting skills have been appreciated highly as he is nominated for the Best Actor Critics Choice and could be eyeing the third Oscar. 

Nicolas Cage said, “I do feel that I’ve gone into my own wilderness and that I’ve left the small town that is Hollywood. I don’t know exactly why Rob left his stardom. It’s never fully explained, and I like that about the movie. But as for me, I don’t know if I’d want to go back. I don’t know if I’d want to go and make another Disney movie. It would be terrifying. It’s a whole different climate. There’s a lot of fear there.”

A still from 'Pig'. Image Source: Variety 

When talking about the filmmaker Michael Sarnoski, Nicolas Cage explained, “I call him Archangel Michael because I knew somewhere along the way after a couple of flops I had been marginalized in the studio's system and I wasn’t going to get invited by them. I always knew it would take a young filmmaker who would come back, remember some movies I had made, know that I might be right for his script, and rediscover me.”

Nicolas dived straight in to the point where he explained that he feels grateful that there are people who still look up to his past work and appreciate it but also added that when he was sidelined by the industry, it kind of felt bad. The Oscar-winning actor added, “By flops, I meant like Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Disney did not land. Or Drive Angry did not land. In retrospect, now it’s a fun movie, right? Even Ghost Rider, the second Ghost Rider that was my last studio film. It seemed like I was no longer on the studio radar, but I knew I could always go back to my indie radar. Which was and is still my roots. And I was just waiting, waiting for the right directors… I was always able to go back to these people who were still inviting me to the club.”

The actor shared that when he was working on Jerry Bruckheimer's movies back to back, there was a lot of pressure because the writers of the movies had written a particular dialogue in a particular way which had to be said the exact way. He added, “They’d put a camera on you and photograph you, and order you: ‘Now say the roller skate training wheels line.’ I’d say, ‘I’ll do that but I’d also like to try it this way.’ In independent movies, you have more freedom to experiment and be fluid. There’s less pressure and there’s more oxygen in the room.” But with an indie film like ‘Pig', Nicolas Cage shared that he had an opportunity to showcase to the audience that he could also work on subtle movies even, 'after a stretch of scaling operatic heights in films such as “Mandy” and “Prisoners of the Ghostland'. The actor added, “I wanted to remind myself and also remind some folks perhaps in the audience or the media that I could also apply myself to a much more quiet and measured performance style. I had gone on this tear, mission almost, to kind of break form with film performance and what was considered good performance by being naturalistic or photo-realistic or minimalistic.”

Nicolas Cage rediscovered himself while working on ‘Pig’, and shared, “I just wanted to show up on set, walk into a room and carry whatever my life experiences, whatever my memories were, whatever my bad dreams last night were, and just tell the story. I wanted to get back to a much more haiku, for lack of a better word, style of performance. When I say that I mean it quite literally. Haiku is five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables, and it’s the quiet spaces that you’re led to contemplate that are inspired by the words and the syllables. That’s what this film is like.”

Just like his character in Pig, Rob who is attached to his pig, Nicolas in real-life attached to his cat, Merlin. So, for him this was not just a movie or a project but it was beyond that as it examined the relationship between humans and animals on a deeper level. “I was always close with my animals. I think a lot of people that are in the public eye probably feel this as well. There’s a truth there. Sometimes when you meet somebody who knows you from a movie, but doesn’t know you as you, they want to undercut you in some way or see you as competition. You don’t get that with animals, so the animal relationships become the closest to family. They become the ones that have nothing to hide and just want to share this moment together with you", Nicolas added. 

In the end, the actor will be seen in an upcoming movie titled, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" where he plays a fictionalized version of himself; an aging star who is enlisted to help the CIA. Talking about that, Nicolas Cage said, “I will never see this movie. I’m told it’s a good movie. I’ve told people love it and are enjoying the ride, but I made that for the audience. It’s too much for me to go to the premiere and sit there with everybody. Psychologically, that’s too bizarre and whacked out for me.”