Nicolas Cage Was Apparently Never Paid For The Movie That Won Him An Oscar

Nicolas Cage didn’t get the Best Actor nomination that he deserved for Pig, but at least he got paid — unlike the movie that actually won him an Oscar. Leaving Las Vegas writer and director Mike Figgis told the It Happened in Hollywood podcast that Cage was promised $100,000 to star in the 1995 drama, where he plays a suicidal alcoholic who falls for a sex worker (Elisabeth Shue) in Vegas. He’s still waiting for the money.

“[Lumiere Pictures] said the film never went into profit,” Figgis (who also wasn’t paid) said, even though it grossed $49.8 million worldwide on a reported $3.5 million budget. “Whatever. I mean, my career then took off again, and the next film I did, I got really well paid. And within a year, [Nic] was earning $20 million a film, so that was good.”

Leaving Las Vegas reinvigorated both Cage’s and Figgis’ film careers. In the next two years, Cage would star in The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off, a trio of action blockbusters that cemented his status as a bankable Hollywood superstar. And Figgis suddenly found himself an Oscar-nominated director, fielding calls from the likes of Steven Spielberg (who proposed they collaborate) and Stanley Kubrick (who called wanting to know how he achieved several shots).

The next time Cage needs a quick 100k to buy a new dinosaur skull, he knows where to look.

Leaving Las Vegas also won Cage an Oscar. “Three and a half million dollar budget, some 16mm film stock thrown in, and I’m holding one of these,” he said at the 68th Academy Awards. “I know it’s not hip to say it, but I just love acting, and I hope that there’ll be more encouragement for alternative movies where we can experiment and fast forward into the future of acting.” You can watch Cage’s pro-bono speech below:

(Via the Hollywood Reporter)