Nicolas Cage Did All Those Terrible Movies For A Shocking Reason

He spills the beans!

By Michileen Martin | Published

nicolas cage left behind

In less than a month, moviegoers are going to get to see Nicolas Cage playing a fictionalized version of himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Considering the premise of the film — Cage agrees to hires himself out as a birthday party guest for a powerful drug lord to help dig himself out of debt — it’s fitting that now would be the time the actor would come clean about the long list of remarkably awful direct-to-video movies he made. As many had suspected, the actor was in debt. What many might not know is that he was also fighting to stop his mother from being institutionalized.

In an interview published by GQ earlier this week, the actor was surprisingly open about the pressures he was dealing with when he agreed to make horrible VOD dreck like 2014’s Left Behind and 2011’s Trespass. Around the end of the aughts, Nicolas Cage found himself owing $14 million to the IRS and millions more still to private creditors. At the same time, Cage says he was spending a staggering amount to help his mother. “I’ve got all these creditors and the IRS and I’m spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mother out of a mental institution, and I can’t,” Cage told GQ. “It was just all happening at once.”

Cage wasn’t specific about why or to whom he was paying that $20,000 per month, but it isn’t the first time the actor has talked about his mother’s mental health issues. A former dancer and choreographer, Nicolas Cage’s mother Joy Vogelsang reportedly has suffered from schizophrenia and severe depression since the actor was a child. According to The Paper, she was in and out of institutions while Cage was growing up. He’s also said she would occasionally go into what he called “Rip Van Winkle mode” and forget her experiences.

One thing Nicolas Cage wants to get across to fans is that while he may have made a lot of bad movies just for the paycheck, there was never a time when he wasn’t giving everything he had. “When I was doing four movies a year, back to back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all,” Cage told GQ. “They didn’t work, all of them. Some of them were terrific, like Mandy, but some of them didn’t work. But I never phoned it in. So if there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring.”

Nic Cage

As reported by The Independent, a number of celebrities spoke up to support Nicolas Cage after the GQ article was published. Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, for example, wrote, “[Nicolas Cage] absolutely never, ever does anything but his best – I’ve said it before: there has not been, nor will there ever be an actor like Nicolas Cage. A master.” Elijah Wood of The Lord of the Rings fame quickly voiced his agreement.

Fittingly, Nicolas Cage says it’s the movie in which he plays a neurotic and debt-burdened version of himself that finally pulled him out of debt. He reportedly finished paying off all of his debts 18 months ago with his payment for appearing in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. The film hits theaters on April 22. From its screenings at festivals like SXSW, the film is enjoying an incredible 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.