He partitions mind like no other performer and now, at 54, acquires himself single for the first time in years. He talks about fatherhood, family and trying to deliver genuinely groundbreaking performances
Nicolas Cage is the greatest American actor working today, full stop. Not very long ago, such a claim would have got you tittered out of the chamber. Simply Cage superfans said such things; in the eyes of the rest of the world, well, sure, he could act- he did triumph the 1996 Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, after all- but he was too eccentric, extremely laughably over the top, exactly too damn Cage-y to be taken seriously.
Ever since I realise him in his 1980 s slapsticks- Peggy Sue Got Married, Moonstruck and Raising Arizona- in which he played, respectively, a nasal-voiced teddy boy, an opera-loving baker and a cartoonish ex-con- I have been a Cage superfan. I had never seen anyone act like him before- wildly mannered but ever heartfelt- and there was something about his fearless lurch towards the nonsensical to achieve something unique, and maybe even glorious, that affect me as inspiring. If actors were popping psalms, Cage would be Bohemian Rhapsody. As a shy 10 -year-old, I would perform his extravagant pronunciations and even more grandiose gesticulates from Moonstruck in front of the reflect: ” I ain’t no freaking shrine to justice !” I would scream, lifting my limb to the sky. It felt stimulating. But thanks to the endless schlocky horror movies he makes these days, coupled with all those internet supercuts compiling his notorious “Cage Rage” freak-outs from various movies (” Nicolas Cage’s Cagiest Moments !”), he is too often regarded as, if not exactly a guilty pleasure, then at least an ironic one. And it is hard to argue the genius of a gentleman who crowds his CV with movies such as Season of the Witch and Ghost Rider.
But attitudes have been shifting. Ever since his magnetic accomplishment in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans in 2009, re-evaluations have been written with headlines like Is Nicolas Cage Actually the Most Brilliant Actor of Our Time ?, by reporters presumably too young to remember that Cage long ago confirmed this in movies such as David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. In a 2013 Reddit Ask Me Anything, Ethan Hawke confirmed that he, very, is a Cage superfan:” He’s the only performer since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the prowes of move; he’s successfully taken us away from an preoccupation with naturalism into a kind of presentation style of acting that I imagine was favourite with the old-fashioned troubadors .”
Cage and I fulfill on a sunny epoch in the restaurant of the Savoy Hotel in London. He is dressed formally in a grey clothing and necktie, but his face is friendly.” What’s with all this SUN? I was hoping for London fog and GLOOM ,” he says in his distinctive, lilting voice. These days Cage lives in” well, the ROMANTIC way to place it would be the Mojave desert, but the CRUDE way of saying it is I live in Las Vegas “. He moved there a decade ago for, he quietly declares, the instead crude reason of Nevada not having any state tax,” which was helpful at the time “.
Cage famously blew the rich he made in 90 s blockbusters The Rock, Face/ Off and Con Air on, among other things, some fabulously eccentric real estate properties obtains various regions of the world, including a palace in Somerset. The castling has since been sold but he still has a cottage near Glastonbury, having been urged to check out the town by someone he describes as” my logic teach “.
” She made there was something very ARTHURIAN about me – why, I don’t know- and I get and I fell in love with the place. Glastonbury town is like walking into a parcel of TAROT placards: on the one back you have very ancient Christianity, on the other side you have gentile notebook supermarkets, and someone’s barking about God in the middle of the street. It’s like an Ingmar BERGMAN movie, and I cherish it ,” he says.
He has two chunky sounds on his paws: a block of Tanzanite from Somerset and a tiger from Vegas,” So I ever have Glastonbury and Las Vegas with me ,” he says, smiling lovingly at this hand.
We are here today to talk about his latest film, Mandy, directed by Panos Cosmatos, and if your impression of Cage these days is of someone who spends his geniu in niche horror movies most people won’t see, well, Mandy will not change your intellect. Cage is incredibly watchable as the devastated lumberjack, Red, who sets out to avenge the death of his lover( Andrea Riseborough) at the mitts of a religion chairman( Linus Roache ). But Adaptation it is not. Does he do these smaller movies because they give him the seat to experiment with his, shall we say, unique style of acting?
” Absolutely. I like to break forms, try different things, and I don’t think studios are comfy with that. But in an separately spirited film, I can do that. Also, if I don’t have somewhere to be done in order to the morning and a job to do, it can be very self-destructive. Then I’m just going to sit and order two bottles of red wine and melt, and I don’t want to be that person, so I have to work ,” he says. After this interview, he says, he has to learn rows for three upcoming films.
Perhaps it is this work ethic that has hindered him so health. Unlike most other actors who have been around for four decades, and despite his honour as a male of extremes, there have never been any substance-abuse gossips or the complaints of burnout.