Even though his career dates back 40 years, and has netted him countless awards and billions of dollars in box office takings, some people love Nicolas Cage for purely ironic reasons.
His peers and colleagues have regularly lauded him as one of the finest and most fearless talents of his generation, one that’s effectively invented his own unique style of acting and applied it to everything from micro budget independent films to blockbuster summer releases that cost upwards of $100 million.
However, above all else, a lot of folks are simply here for the memes. The internet wants to see Nicolas Cage doing Nicolas Cage stuff, whether it’s a bug-eyed monologue, an eccentric tic or foible he gives to a particular character, or pretty much everything he does in the demented remake of The Wicker Man.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cage put forth a theory as to why he’s become an icon of the online world, and his answer is perfectly on-brand.
“The main thing that goes through my head is, ‘Why?’ There are a lot of other actors who are far more famous than I am that don’t have this. Maybe this has something to do with the characters I played and the way the internet cherry-picks facial expressions that I made the choice to do in film because I wanted to break free from naturalism. You go back to silent movie stars, German expressionism, I was trying to be abstract. Naturalism is a style, and I wanted to get more expressionistic.
In movies like Vampire’s Kiss or Face/Off, these characters are larger than life and all had issues — whether it be mental illness or drug addiction or whatever. There’s an organic engine driving this behavior, and that was why I made the decision to apply myself and experiment. I can honestly tell you that whatever I designed, choreographed, or vocalized, I always made sure there was genuine emotion behind it.”
Things come full circle in just a few weeks when self-aware action comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent arrives, which sees Cage playing a fictionalized version of himself, one that reenacts famous scenes from his own filmography for the entertainment and amusement of others. We’ve officially gone through the looking glass, and the Oscar-winning star is fully in on the joke, and along for the ride.