Wild and Weird Career
By Kirsten Howard
Nicolas Cage’s 40-year career has been unpredictable, intriguing, and always one to watch!
As the nephew of Apocalypse Now and The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, Nicolas Cage was born into Hollywood royalty in 1964.
Nicolas Cage, Sofia Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola
His first role was opposite Crispin Glover in a 1981 TV movie called The Best of Times, back when he was still acting under the name Nicolas Coppola.
But his leading part in Valley Girl two years later launched his career as a cult icon. The classic punk-meets-nice-girl story won over many fans.
The actor soon started pairing roles in more serious fare like Rumble Fish and Birdy with more romantic parts in the likes of Peggy Sue Got Married and Moonstruck.
Nicolas Cage and Cher in Moonstruck (1987)
Around the same time, he started to experiment with his acting range by choosing weirder movies.
Nic Cage and Laura Dern in Wild at Heart (1990)
In Robert Bierman’s 1988 comedy-horror Vampire’s Kiss, Cage features as a deranged publishing executive who believes he’s turning into a vampire.
Wild at Heart saw Cage also hop aboard a crime drama project from the king of weird, director David Lynch.
In the mid-90s, he received a Best Actor Oscar for his role as suicidal alcoholic Ben Sanderson in Leaving Las Vegas.
Seemingly determined not to be pigeonholed as an awards darling, Cage then starred in three explosive action movies back-to-back.
Nicolas Cage in The Rock (1996)
Many audiences still enjoy watching the actor’s action blockbuster hat-trick of The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off.
Nicolas Cage in Con Air (1997)
After this golden box office period, there were a couple of standout movies on the way, including Spike Jonze’s film Adaptation, where Cage played identical twins, and Disney adventure film National Treasure.
Justin Bartha, Nicolas Cage National Treasure (2004)
But the actor was soon racking up a number of disappointing flops, and it was thought that Cage had become a less bankable star.
In the late 00s, reports started to emerge that Cage was also in personal financial trouble, and he began picking roles in films that would deliver fast checks instead.
nicolas cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
For almost a decade, most of Cage’s movies would go straight to the bargain bin.
But in 2018, Cage’s spectacular performance as a grieving, vengeful widow in Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic horror movie Mandy had people talking about a comeback.
Next, we’ll see Nic Cage appear opposite The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal in meta movie The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, where he’ll play a cash-strapped version of himself who agrees to work as an informant for the CIA.
He’ll also lead a new miniseries playing Joe Exotic, who shot to fame in 2020 after a Netflix documentary chronicled his life as the Tiger King. It looks like Nic Cage will retain his crown as the comeback king!