Nicolas Cage is currently starring in a movie about something he knows best: Nicolas Cage. That’s right, the actor has taken on the role of a fictional version of himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and by all accounts, has completely knocked it out of the park with the part. We would really expect nothing less from the iconic actor who might have taken the most meta of turns in the history of Hollywood with this movie. But according to Cage, when he first heard about the prospect of playing a movie version of himself, the idea didn’t exactly appeal to him. In fact, it caused him significant dread just at the prospect.
Speaking with Variety over the weekend, Nicolas Cage talked about what it was like being pitched and ultimately accepting the lead role in this latest movie. At first, he had the reaction that one would think most would when presented with what could be a totally narcissistic and self-serving idea at best and an awkwardly cringe-worthy attempt at humor at worse. There are a lot of ways Nicolas Cage playing Nicolas Cage can go wrong. And frankly, it would take a special script and just the right talents to pull it off in the first place. Such is the way Nicolas Cage thought when presented with the idea. Check out what he told Variety:
“There was no muscle in my body that told me I should play a character named Nick Cage, it was absolute horror…However, the director (Tom Gormican) wrote me a very intelligent, sensitive letter, and in that letter I knew he was a true film enthusiast that likes some of the earlier work. He wanted to make a movie that was about people, not about caricatures or cartoons…”
Thank goodness Tom Gormican was able to talk Nicolas Cage into this role with a great script and a vision for how the movie would work on a high level. Because it’s clear that they pulled it off. In the movie, Nick Cage (they added a K) is a movie star who has basically had a similar arc to the real guy but is struggling with some late-career angst and the inevitability that the work is starting to dry up. It’s causing all sorts of strife, even something like an existential crisis. But then he is offered a massive sum of money to appear at a billionaire’s party (played expertly by Pedro Pascal) and the two end up forming something of a friendship.
The twist in the movie is that Nicolas Cage is contacted by the CIA because Pascal’s character is actually a pretty bad dude and they need Cage to infiltrate the organization and possibly even take him out. What ends up happening is Nicolas Cage must then revert into characters he’s played throughout his acting career to get the job done. See what I mean about a meta approach here?
And critics have loved it. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is sitting at a cool 100% on Rotten Tomatoes through 27 reviews. Folks have adored every bit of what Nicolas Cage brings in this one, clearly understanding the joke is mostly on him, but pulling it off in such a way that he’s also a sympathetic figure as well. That’s quite the needle to thread, but Cage pulls it off. The movie is set to hit theaters in the United States on April 22nd and then everyone can catch the “horror” of what Nicolas Cage was presented when pitched the movie.