Nic Cage’s first reaction to ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ was ‘absolute horror’

Picture this. You’re Nicolas Cage, you’re a 58-year-old acting legend whose career is dangerously close to being overshadowed by your legacy as an internet meme. Someone comes to you with a movie pitch that is basically about a version of you who’s losing it at the end of his career. It’s understandable, then, that the real Nicolas Cage’s reaction when he first heard of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was “absolute horror”. 

Cage told Variety at the film’s New York premiere that “there was no muscle” in his body that told him he should “play a character named Nick Cage,” but that a letter from director Tom Gormican ultimately changed his mind. 

“The director 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.”

the unbearable weight of massive talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an amalgamation of comedy, action, and drama centered around a retiring actor named Nick Cage, played by namesake Nicolas Cage. The protagonist is a famous actor facing financial ruin, who takes one last job before retiring — an appearance at a party hosted by one of his biggest fans, Javi Gutierrez, played by Pedro Pascal. Nick eventually finds out Javi is a crime lord, which leads him to put the skills he’s learned from a career in action filmmaking into practice in order to save himself and his family.

It’s far from a biography, but more of a meta-commentary on Hollywood stardom and how the industry treats aging actors like real-world Cage himself. It’s an ambitious premise, and for the veteran star, it was “a balancing act” that could either succeed or fail miserably. Director Gormican knew getting Cage on board was essential to bring his vision to life. 

I think he was a little put off until he understood. We said to him, ‘There are ideas people have of who you are and there’s actually who you are, and somewhere in the middle we’re gonna find the movie.’ We said this entire thing is the chance to take the reins of that narrative and become a big piece of performance art. Once he looked at it that way, he started to come around.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing movies coming out this year. Joining Cage and Pascal in the star-packed cast are Tiffany Haddish, Demi Moore and Neil Patrick Harris, among others. It had its world premiere in March and is hitting U.S. theaters on April 22. The film currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes after 28 reviews. A good indicator that Nic Cage might have made the right career move after all. Soon, audiences around the world will be casting their votes.