Up until The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent began its marketing campaign, that headline would have left a lot of folks incredibly confused, but it’s perfectly simple to follow within the context of Tom Gormican’s fantastically outlandish action comedy.
Nicolas Cage stars as the semi-fictionalized version of himself known as Nick Cage, who in turn is haunted by a younger version of himself that goes by Nicky, a power-hungry egomaniac desperate to reclaim his place at the top table of Hollywood.
In an interview with ComicBook, the leading man explained the differences between Nicolas, Nick, and Nicky, before going on to define the latter as the real villain of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
“Well, Nicky, I’m glad you point Nicky out because first he didn’t even have a name. I had to give him a name. Because I thought the character was worthy of his own name. They were talking about Cameron Poe for young so-called Nick Cage. And I said, ‘But that’s Cameron Poe, that’s a character, that’s not Nick Cage.’
But if you wanna see young Nick Cage, look at my presentation on the Wogan show. When I was promoting Wild at Heart. That guy is irreverent. That guy is arrogant. That guy is obnoxious. And that guy is exactly right. And what’s more, we’re gonna call him Nicky, because he’s really the villain in the movie. He’s the one that’s trying to, he’s the devil on the shoulder. That’s saying, ‘You gotta be a movie star. You can’t be doing these little art films, these independent movies. You’re a star.’
That guy was right before I had started doing the adventure films, like The Rock and Con Air. And at that time, that was important to me to do those movies, because I grew up watching Charles Bronson and Sean Connery and Dr. No, and I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I could make an adventure film, because everyone thought I couldn’t do it. So, when you say ‘Can’t,’ you wanna say, ‘I can.’ And that’s where that energy came from.”
As the best-reviewed movie of his entire career, it’s clear that Cage managed to pull off the delicate balancing act between the three stages of Cage to feature in The Unbearable Massive Talent, and it’s a joy to see it happen.