Nicolas Cage Can Explain It All
March 26, 2022 8:10 AM   Subscribe

He is one of our great actors. Also one of our most inscrutable, most eccentric, and most misunderstood. But as Cage makes his case here, every extraordinary thing about his wild work and life actually makes perfect ordinary sense. [SL GQ]
posted by ellieBOA (23 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
“Some people even say he's so weird, but I don't think so. I think he's pretty normal, and he just needs a friend—that's all.”

Everybody needs a hug. Even Nicholas Cage.
posted by chavenet at 8:21 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Previously on Metafilter: The Nicholas Cage Matrix
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:53 AM on March 26




Okay, so I don't follow celebrities that closely and I'm almost afraid to ask but:

How is Nicholas Cage's ostentatious material purchases different from Kim Kardashian's, and how is the fandom around Nicholas Cage different from the one around Elon Musk?

I never really understood parasocial attraction. We don't know anything about these people other than the carefully crafted image that is put together with the help of professional publicists. Like sports team support is all arbitrary so you might as well go with your hometown team. But liking movie stars outside of the movies we like them in always struck me as weird?

I guess I kept reading this article expecting some kind of explanation for Cage's extravagant purchases and... didn't really find anything other than the impulses of some rich guy. Maybe all rich celebrities are like this though, but they just buy the usual luxuries of houses, cars, jewelry, and parties?
posted by AlSweigart at 11:29 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


How is Nicholas Cage's ostentatious material purchases different from Kim Kardashian's, and how is the fandom around Nicholas Cage different from the one around Elon Musk?
Perhaps the simplest idea that explains Cage is that he is a sincere man in an ironic world. “There's not an ironic or cynical bone in his body,” Pig director Michael Sarnoski told me. Roger Ebert once wrote of his “inner trembling,” adding that “he always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience.” He's been telling us all along. Remember his Oscars speech? “I know it's not hip to say it,” he admitted, clutching his golden statue. “But I just love acting.”

Nothing about him feels like an affectation. Not the kung fu suit, not the talking crow. He is a true eccentric holdout in the increasingly banal landscape of American celebrity. You never see him posting on social media, flashing his veneers above a faux self-deprecating or inspirational caption, or giving pithy sound bites on a red carpet. The man is physically incapable of pith.

“He's such a nice man, such a good man, and I think he also got so much misunderstanding,” Face/Off director John Woo said. “Some people even say he's so weird, but I don't think so. I think he's pretty normal, and he just needs a friend—that's all.”
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:37 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]


> too many movies

This is clearly wrong.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:16 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


I never really understood parasocial attraction. We don't know anything about these people other than the carefully crafted image that is put together with the help of professional publicists. But liking movie stars outside of the movies we like them in always struck me as weird?

Given that most of us will never interact with these people in any way, it's basically just another fictional character that some people are fans of and like to talk about.
posted by straight at 12:42 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


> Given that most of us will never interact with these people in any way, it's basically just another fictional character that some people are fans of and like to talk about.

That won't be true for everyone. Sometimes we talk about them because they're not fictional characters. That they've gone through financial hardship (Cage), loss of family (Keanu Reeves), mental health issues (Lohan, Bynes). That successful celebrities have gone through many of the same issues as we're gone through doesn't make them fake or fictional, and it doesn't render them immune to loss, or hardship. It makes them human, and their experiences make us empathise with them.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:38 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Nick Cave's Red Hand Files this week is very relevant.
posted by srednivashtar at 1:47 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Cage's personality annoys the absolute dogshit out of me, and I'm not really sure why. Maybe I'm the one with the problem, but I could never quite see his appeal and I can't find his acting believable. (Not that I could do any better on the screen, though.)
posted by TreeHugger at 5:12 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


I think he's one of the greatest living actors. Always mesmerizing in one way or another.
posted by Dr. Wu at 5:13 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Roger Ebert once wrote of his “inner trembling,” adding that “he always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience.”
This is what I’ve always loved about his acting. Can’t wait to see his Dracula.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:16 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


"He absolutely never, ever does anything but his best- I've said it before: there has not been, nor will there ever be an actor like Nicolas Cage. A master." - Guillermo del Toro
posted by CrystalDave at 5:25 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


I liked him in Birdy.
posted by latkes at 6:00 PM on March 26


Sometimes we talk about them because they're not fictional characters. That they've gone through financial hardship (Cage), loss of family (Keanu Reeves), mental health issues (Lohan, Bynes). That successful celebrities have gone through many of the same issues as we're gone through doesn't make them fake or fictional, and it doesn't render them immune to loss, or hardship. It makes them human, and their experiences make us empathise with them.

But when we watch and read about them on screens, I'm not sure it really differs that much from what we get from a well-told story about a fictional character going through those things that we can identify with.
posted by straight at 8:27 PM on March 26


But actually, that's the opposite of the point I was trying to make, which was that it's at least no weirder to get caught up in the distanced, mediated fragments of celebrities lives that we glimpse through the media than to get caught up in the story of a fictional character.

I think you're saying that some find it even less weird to get caught up in a story that has a real person underneath it somewhere. And yeah, I can see that.
posted by straight at 8:34 PM on March 26


Sometime around 1997 I was at some sort of tech art exhibition/installation thing at Foufounes Electriques in Montreal. There was some sort of performance going on and at one point I looked up at the rather tall person next to me who looked oddly familiar. He turned and smiled a big goofy smile and patted me on the shoulder, nodding, before vanishing into the crowd. Took a moment to register that it had been, in fact, Nicolas Cage, who I subsequently learned was in town filming something or other. An odd moment.

Nick Cave's anecdote is more interesting, was going to post but it's already there upthread!
posted by remembrancer at 7:15 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Nick Cave's Red Hand Files this week is very relevant.

Thanks for the link — I saw Nick Cave on Friday and today different friends asked about the Nic Cage concert.

Ngl, I’d watch Nicolas Cage’s Murder Ballads.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:00 PM on March 27


Cage's personality annoys the absolute dogshit out of me, and I'm not really sure why. Maybe I'm the one with the problem, but I could never quite see his appeal and I can't find his acting believable. (Not that I could do any better on the screen, though.)
posted by TreeHugger at 5:12 PM on March 26 [1 favorite +] [!]

I don't think he wants his acting to believable - he goes for larger than life almost every time.
posted by Furnace of Doubt at 8:09 AM on March 28


Early days, but Cage is getting some of the best reviews of his career for playing a version of himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:10 PM on March 28


It didn’t occur to me until I started thinking about him playing Dracula, but I’m starting to think that some of the same things I enjoy about Cage are the same things I’ve always enjoyed about my main man Vincent Price. The acting that’s sincere and committed without being necessarily naturalistic, the commitment to a sort of heightened reality, the willingness to do weird shit with the same passion as if it was Shakespeare, and in the end, take the work seriously but not yourself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:18 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


T.U.M., I couldn't agree more. Vincent Price is, in my opinion, another of the greatest performers ever to grace a screen. I never made the parallel to Cage, but now that you say it, I realize its truth!
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:15 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Fun interview with the cast of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Love when Cage mentions taking inspiration from Bugs Bunny, and the chemistry beween him and Pascal is great.

Under circumstances too long to go into, I once found myself spending an hour wandering through one of the fancy gated communities of North Las Vegas (the gate was open), and if I was a movie star who could afford it I think I could be quite happy there. Probably cheaper than Beverly Hills, too.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:45 PM on March 29


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