Nicolas Cage is an Oscar winner and two-time nominee whose films have grossed nearly $5 billion at the worldwide box office. He is, by any measure, one of America’s most famous actors, and at 57 years old, he could live a comfortable life going from paycheck role to paycheck role in the Hollywood studio system. Instead, his recent filmography includes Color Out of Space, a psychedelic Lovecraftian horror film; Willy’s Wonderland, where he fights murderous animatronic characters; Primal, co-starring a CGI albino jaguar; and Pig, about a man and his truffle-hunting film. There’s also the upcoming meta-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which he plays a fictionalized version of himself. Cage takes huge swings, and for that, he’s a legend.
But there’s a method to his Mandy madness. And a reason.
“When I was making Jerry Bruckheimer movies back-to-back, that was just a high pressure game,” Cage told Variety. “There were a lot of fun moments, but at the same time, there was also, ‘We wrote this line. It has to be said this way.’ They’d put a camera on 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.’ On independent movies, you have more freedom to experiment and be fluid. There’s less pressure and there’s more oxygen in the room.”
I would love to know the choices that he wasn’t allowed to make in Con Air. Anyway, there’s a fascinating trend when every time a critically acclaimed movie starring Cage comes out, like Mandy in 2018, people are surprised all over again that he’s a genuinely great actor. As if Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Wild at Heart, and Bringing Out the Dead wasn’t enough proof. It’s happening again with Pig.
“I wanted to remind myself and also remind some folks perhaps in the audience or in the media that I could also apply myself to a much more quiet and measured performance style,” Cage said. “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.”
You do you, Nic Cage. Pig opens in theaters tomorrow.
“There’s nothing here for you anymore.”
PIG starring Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff.
In Theatres July 16. pic.twitter.com/N4XmMD3ldx
— NEON (@neonrated) June 17, 2021