Nicolas Cage says he’s a thespian, not an actor

nicolas cage
DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 25: Nicolas Cage attends the German Sustainability Award 2016 (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis) at Maritim Hotel on November 25, 2016 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images)

The evolution of Nicolas Cage has been fascinating to explore in the 40 years since he made his screen debut in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with the star managing to reach the very pinnacle of the industry, before eventually slumming the depths of the VOD market.

Having transformed himself from the eccentric darling of independent film to the arguably even more eccentric darling of blockbuster cinema, the prolific talent ultimately turned his back on the studio system in favor of signing on for as many tedious action thrillers as possible, the vast majority of which never even saw the inside of a theater.

However, a recent and upcoming slate that’s included Mandy, Color Out of Space, Willy’s Wonderland, Pig, Prisoners of the Ghostland, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Butcher’s Crossing has shown a reinvigorated and re-energized Cage, one that’s knocking out stellar performances in some truly bizarre projects.

During an appearance on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, the 57 year-old even revealed that he doesn’t like to refer to himself as an actor at all.

“For me it always implies, ‘Oh, he’s a great actor, therefore he’s a great liar,’ So with the risk of sounding like a pretentious asshole, I like the word ‘thespian’ because thespian means you’re going into your heart, or you’re going into your imagination, or your memories or your dreams, and you’re bringing something back to communicate with the audience.”

Having landed an Academy Award for Best [REDACTED] over a quarter of a century ago, many of Cage’s peers will disagree with his sentiment, but he’s also exactly the sort of person you’d envision describing themselves as a thespian first and foremost, because he’s always played by his own rules.