NICOLAS CAGE FEATURE
eing ‘in analysis‘ is as common in Hollywood as anywhere else in America. but it‘s still pretty unusual for anyone to open himself up to a complete stranger who‘s armed with a tape recorder and likely to spill the beans to magazine readers. But then again. Nicolas Cage is no run-of—the-mill Tinseltown actor. as his film choices and previous exploits have shown. This is the man who pulled out his own teeth to play the tormented Vietnam vet in Birdy; who ate a live cockroach for Vampire 's Kiss: who destroyed his trailer when getting into suitable gangster mood for The Cotton Club.
‘I‘ve calmed down.‘ pleads the 28-year-old actor. ‘I think that‘s because I‘m getting older. but also becoming a father. It‘s opened up a whole new range of emotions and I‘d never felt these things before — it‘s exciting. it‘s restored my faith in who I am. I felt like I‘d met a dead end. that I’d really reached the zenith of my
‘l’ve been interested in dichotomies and paradoxes — the angel smoking the cigarette or the devil with a halo. Perhaps I put a little more emphasis on the devil or on the cigarette.’
dark exploration of that character. I‘ve been
interested in dichotomies and paradoxes -— the angel smoking the cigarette or the devil with a halo. Perhaps I put a little more emphasis on the devil or on the cigarette . . .‘
Cage was raised in Long Beach. California. but at the age of twelve moved to San Francisco. where his father is now Dean of Creative Arts at the city‘s State University. Three years later he took up acting by enrolling in the American Conservatory Theatre. before the all-important shift to Los Angeles where he landed a TV movie role while still at high school. As he admits. however. the acting bug came about in a far more characteristically weird way.
‘I‘ve used acting as a means of survival.‘ he elaborates. ‘even in my childhood. I‘m not really a fighter. and I was getting picked on in school. so I would disguise myself as other characters. One day I went in my older brother‘s boots and jeans. I was chewing gum. dark shades on. and I was a different person — I was Nicolas‘s cousin and if you touch him again I‘m going to kick your ass. And they believed this. They didn‘t want to steal my lunchbag. I‘ve only recently become confident in my own personality. I‘ve always thought that acting was about creating characters. about changing and creating different types of people.‘
In a career that has seen him play everything from artist-adulterer (Zandalee) to infertile baby-kidnapper (Raising Arizona), his greatest acting creation remains . . . Nicolas Cage himself. Because this off-the-wall guy turned new age father. this man making the career equivalent of ‘switching from being an anarchist to a socialist’ was born Nicolas
ILI AT HEART
In snakeskin jacket. NICOLAS CAGE crooned Elvis songs in l David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. Now in Honeymoon in Vegas. he‘s jumping out of a plane with ﬁfteen sky-diving Elvis impersonators.
a , ' p i .. g . "T .‘t. fl ' am i ‘ t 5‘
; my mouth is going “Auuuggghhh!” and I‘m ‘ doing Edvard Munch.‘
Manic-depressive Norwegian painters aside. Cage is entering a productive stage of his career. First to be released is old-fashioned . screwball comedy Honeymoon in It’egas. in which he plays Jack Singer. a struggling private detective who finally takes the plunge and decides to marry his long-standing girlfriend (played by Sarah Jessica Parker). They run off to Las Vegas. but the night before the wedding. he loses her in a game of poker to manipulative card sharp Tommy Korman (a scene-stealing performance from James C aan). To win her back. Singer is willing to try anything. even if I it means parachuting into the gambling capital with a troupe of Elvis impersonators. Then comes Red Roek West. a tourniquet-tight thriller in the Blood Simple mode. with Cage. j Dennis Hopper and Lara Flynn Boyle caught in an escalating nightmare of murder and small- l town deceit. And on top of that. he‘sjust finished acting in his brother Christopher‘s directorial debut.
‘Without tooting my own horn.~ he says of his new. calmer outlook. ‘I think I can provide an edge to a studio movie . . . but I don‘t feel 1 need to prove anything. really. ljust feel that I‘m living a different wavelength of time. and because I‘m a father. everything I do directly affects my son. It‘s the most natural thing in the world that you want to set a good example. I feel I‘ve done some wild. crazy things. and I don‘t know if] want my son to have to explain why his dad threw a ketchup bottle against the wall.‘
7 Coppola. nephew of the Oscar-winning director.
‘I changed my name in ‘84 or ‘83 because “Coppola” in the movie industry is like having US Steel stamped on your forehead.‘ he explains. ‘and it was hard to look past the name to what I was trying to do. I don‘t think that directors would want the name “Coppola” on their movies any more than Francis would want the name “Scorsese” on his. I changed my name to Cage because I thought it sounded good. it was simple and unusual and I thought it would be good for publicity — you know. “Here he comes. and he‘s bustin‘ out of his cage!“. The first movie I went for was Valley Girl and when it came out. Francis sent me a Western Union telegram saying “Congratulations from Francis Cage. Eleanor Cage and all the other Cages“.
‘Although we had a very professional relationship.‘ he says of working with his uncle on Rumble Fish. The Cotton Club and Peggy Sue Got Married. ‘he was a very loyal person to work with because he protected me. On Peggy Sue Got Married. I would have got ft red if it hadn‘t been directed by Francis Coppola. I was taking chances that were unheard of for a big movie. I still laugh about it because it really was like a prank. I was goofing off and I don‘t know why. I‘ve been inspired by paintings. and at that time I thought I was going to change the whole face of acting. that I was going to be the abstract. rock‘n‘roll inﬂuence in acting. that I was going to bring surrealism back into acting. I can‘t believe the ego I must have had. I was looking at Edvard Munch‘s The Seream in a book while I was making Peggy Sue Got Married and saying “I‘m gonna do that in the movie. right now. today!“. And there‘s a scene when she‘s grabbing my you-know-what and
Honeymoon in Vegas opens in Scotland on Friday 26 February. Red Rock West is due for release on 23 April.
The List 26 February:ilﬁl March NO} 11