Nicolas Cage Wanted To Stop Making Big-Budget Films After One Blockbuster

Nicolas Cage finally explained why he stopped appearing in big-budget blockbusters, and what he had decided to devote his life to.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage is coming up in the news a lot these days, which is no surprise. The thespian/Coppola/friend of Dog the Bounty Hunter has occupied pretty much every level of Hollywood success (and failure) in his many decades in the business, and he is currently on one of his intermittent upswings. However, it has been quite a while since he was in a big movie like the Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer films he used to be a fixture of. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he stated his reasons. Basically, around 2007, he starred in a little movie called Ghost Rider. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, he played Johnny Blaze, a motorcyclist/undead spirit of vengeance who has a tendency to become a fiery skull. The poor critical reviews of the film (and even worse ones for the following Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), along with the failures of Drive Angry and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice apparently made him rethink his entire career. Cage explained:

I started reading a lot of philosophy. I stopped being interested in going to awards shows and selling myself. I made a decision to pursue a life of contemplation. And simultaneously, I had movies like Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Ghost Rider and Drive Angry — three in a row that didn’t work out. There was this marginalization that happened while I was also more interested in philosophy and meditating.

Coming from people, that might be a pretentious statement. Coming from Nicolas Cage, it sounds like exactly what his thought process was. Having a series of critical and/or financial bombs probably did not help him being cast in big-budget films either. Around the time period of Ghost Rider, Cage also had a well-publicized series of issues with the Internal Revenue Service and the various castles, dinosaur skulls, and fleet of Rolls Royces he had purchased. While there are differing stories of what exactly transpired to put one of the highest-paid (and frequently working) actors of the 1990s into financial duress, it kick-started a long period of Cage starring in generic action films like Bangkok Dangerous and Seeking Justice. While many generally felt that Cage had permanently slipped from the A-list to the kind of mediocre fare available to the Steven Seagals and Jean-Claude Van Dammes of the world, he eventually resurfaced with well-received dramatic roles in David Gordon Green’s Joe and then into weirder but still interesting territory like the psychedelic horror movie Mandy

nicolas cage

Regardless of the state of his career, Nicolas Cage has not stopped his superhuman level of productivity Since 1983, not a single year has gone by that he has not starred in at least one movie; 2019 currently is his high bar, with seven live-action performances in one calendar year. His next upcoming project is The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which co-stars The Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal. Cage portrays a more neurotic, pathetic version of “Nicolas Cage” who gets swept up into a CIA mission after taking a personal appearance gig, and seems as self-referential to his career as it is high concept. He has also been making sure to let the public know what roles he is willing to take another crack at and which ones he is done with. That said, it does seem like Nicolas Cage is always up for pretty much anything, so big budget casting agents, give it a try.