Nicolas Cage explained why he doesn’t see himself returning back to Hollywood to make more movies. His most recent film, Pig, will be released in theaters on July 16. Directed and co-written by Michael Sarnoski and written by Vanessa Block, the film is set on truffle hunter Rob (Cage) in the wilderness of Oregon. When his foraging pig is kidnapped by unknown assailants, he must return back to Portland and face his past in order to search for his stolen pig. The film and Cage have both received high critical praise.
After making his feature film debut in a small role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High in 1982, Cage’s career has been rather expansive. He’s starred in several big Hollywood films and has earned numerous awards for his work, including a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award for his performance in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas. However, his career later focused on more of the independent film scene with movies such as Pig and the Lovecraftian Color Out of Space. He has generated a large cult following, particularly due to his more over-the-top performances.
In an interview with Variety, Cage talked about his character’s journey in Pig and how relatable it is to some of his own experiences. He brought up leaving the Hollywood scene and how that compares to Rob leaving the spotlight of the Portland scene. Cage explored the topic of creative freedom as an actor, as well as the pressure of making a big budget Hollywood feature. See below for Cage’s full comments:
“I do feel that I’ve gone into my own wilderness and that I’ve left the small town that is Hollywood. I don’t know exactly why Rob left his stardom. It’s never fully explained, and I like that about the movie. But as for me, I don’t know if I’d want to go back. I don’t know if I’d want to go and make another Disney movie. It would be terrifying. It’s a whole different climate. There’s a lot of fear there.” “When I was making Jerry Bruckheimer movies back-to-back, that was just a high pressure game. 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 photograph 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.”
Not all of Cage’s movies have been regarded as winners, although many of them have led to the creation of memes online. His performance as Edward Malus in the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man is still often referred to, despite how bad the film itself is. While he doesn’t currently seem to have much interest in returning back to Hollywood films, he still remains to be a large draw to the movies that he stars in. The fact that he brings attentions to what would otherwise be small projects is a big attribute.
Cage delivers a subtle, controlled performance in Pig that is undeniably nuanced. This is a side to the actor that some audiences may have believed was gone entirely, although he’s proven that he can go from the “Cage rage,” as he refers to it, all the way to a deeply intimate performance. There’s no doubt that he would be able to get back into Hollywood films if he were to have the desire, although there’s something particularly special about Cage working in independent filmmaking. He has the ability to do more than read lines, but to truly immerse himself in a character on screen. Hopefully audiences are able to continue to see Cage display this dynamic range in his future projects.
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