Nicolas Kim Coppola (born January 7, 1964 in Long Beach, California), known professionally as Nicolas Cage, is an American actor, known for collaborating many times with film producer Jerry Bruckheimer. He changed his last name to Cage (after Luke Cage and the composer John Cage) because his uncle is the great director Francis Ford Coppola, and Cage didn't want an unfair advantage pursuing success in film on his own effortsnote .
Cage pursued acting as a career, making his debut on television in 1981. Cage has featured in numerous "bad boy" roles, and has won numerous awards, beginning in 1989 with his Independent Spirit Award, an Academy Award for Best Actor for his lead role in Leaving Las Vegas, and his most recent Toronto Film Critics Association Award in 2002. Cage has appeared in over 60 films including Face/Off (1997), National Treasure (2004), and Ghost Rider (2007).
Leaving Las Vegas and the Palme d'Or-winning Wild at Heart (directed by David Lynch) are probably the most noteworthy things he's been involved with. After appearing in a string of flops from the late 2000s to early 2010s and accruing an enormous tax debt to the IRS, he became better known for churning out DTV movies made purely for the money. Then he swung back with films like Mandy and Pig which showed that he can still create compelling performances when provided with a good script and direction.
His interesting acting choices, and the broad range of quality in his filmography, has made him the subject of Memetic Mutation over the years. Cracked.com once pitched the theory that he is attempting some sort of experiment where he takes only the best and worst films offered to him, and absolutely nothing in between. Others might say that he just takes any role offered to him, because he loves what he does.
Cage's style of acting is idiosyncratic enough that Roger Ebert named a specific trope after him; the Nicolas Cage Wig-Out Scene, as nobody plays a grown man throwing a screaming tantrum quite like Mr. Cage, and for a while it seemed an indispensable part of every one of his films. It's been lampshaded and parodied by Saturday Night Live's own Andy Samberg for the Weekend Update segment "Get in the Cage" (one such segment even had the real Nicolas Cage as a clone of Samberg's Cage created so Samberg's Cage can star in every movie ever made).
He is an avid comic book fan, with his surname coming from Marvel Comics' Luke Cage, and naming his second son Kal-El (so his son's full name is Kal-El Coppola Cage). He played Ghost Rider, and was considered for Superman in a movie that struggled and never came out. (He eventually got a chance to voice him, however, in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.) In 2010, he got a serious fanboy moment co-starring in Kick-Ass as Crazy Is Cool badass Big Daddy, who wipes out warehouses full of mobsters single-handedly.
Cage is also the subject of another popular meme, "Nic Cage as Everyone", which is photo manipulations of Nicolas Cage as film/TV characters, historical figures and current celebrities. Beware, serious Uncanny Valley ahead; albeit done in utterly hilarious fashion. You will not look at The A-Team the same way again. Especially Baracus. He also has several memetic songs made from his lines, which have also become memetic.
...And when you thought things couldn't get weirder, turns out there's a Grindcore band based on his movies. And also a Horrorpunk band named after the gravesite he purchased in New Orleans.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) — Brad's Bud (the only time he was credited as Nicolas Coppola)
- Valley Girl (1983) — Randy
- Rumble Fish (1983) — Smokey
- The Cotton Club (1984) — Vincent Dwyer
- Birdy (1984) — Al Columbato
- Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) — Charlie Bodell
- Raising Arizona (1987) — H. I. McDunnough
- Moonstruck (1987) — Ronny Cammareri
- Vampire's Kiss (1988) — Peter Loew (played so over-the-top that it created a meme, You Don't Say?)
- Wild at Heart (1990) — Sailor Ripley
- Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) — Jack Singer
- Amos & Andrew (1993) — Amos Odell
- Red Rock West (1993) — Michael Williams
- Deadfall (1993) — Eddie (Cage at his hammiest.)
- It Could Happen to You (1994) — Charlie Lang
- Guarding Tess (1994) — Doug Chesnic
- Kiss of Death (1995) — Little Junior Brown
- Leaving Las Vegas (1995) — Ben Sanderson
- The Rock (1996) — Stanley Goodspeed
- Con Air (1997) — Cameron Poe
- Face/Off (1997) — Castor Troy / Sean Archer
- City of Angels (1998) — Seth
- Snake Eyes (1998) — Rick Santoro
- 8mm (1998) — Tom Welles
- Bringing Out the Dead (1999) — Frank Pierce
- Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000) — Memphis Raines
- The Family Man (2000) — Jack Campbell
- Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) — Captain Antonio Corelli
- Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001) — Jacob Marley (voice)
- Windtalkers (2002) — Sgt. Joe Enders
- Adaptation (2002) — Charlie and Donald Kaufman.
- Matchstick Men (2003) — Roy Waller
- National Treasure series — Benjamin Franklin Gates
- National Treasure (2004)
- National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007)
- Lord of War (2005) — Yuri Orlov
- The Weather Man (2005) — David Spritz
- The Ant Bully (2006) — Zoc (voice)
- The Wicker Man (2006) — Edward Malus
- World Trade Center (2006) — John McLoughlin
- Ghost Rider (2007) — Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
- Grindhouse (2007) — A cameo as Fu Manchu in trailers.
- Next (2007) — Cris Johnson a.k.a. Frank Cadillac
- Bangkok Dangerous (2008) — Joe
- G-Force (2009) - Speckles (voice)
- Knowing (2009) — Dr. John Koestler
- Astro Boy (2009) — Dr. Tenma (voice)
- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) — Lt. Terrence McDonagh
- Kick-Ass (2010) — Big Daddy
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) — Balthazar
- Drive Angry (2011) — Milton
- Season of the Witch (2011) — Bemen von Bleibruck
- Trespass (2011) — Kyle Miller
- The Croods (2013) — Grug (voice)
- The Croods: A New Age (2020)
- The Frozen Ground (2013) — Detective Jack Holcombe
- Left Behind (2014) — Rayford Steele
- Outcast (2014) — Sir Gallian
- USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016) — Captain McVay
- Mom and Dad (2017) — Brent Ryan
- Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) — Superman (voice)
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) — Spider-Man Noir (voice)
- Mandy (2018) — Red
- Primal (2019) — Frank Walsh
- A Score to Settle (2019) — Frank Carver
- Color Out Of Space (2020) — Nathan Gardner
- History of Swear Words (2021) — Host
- Willy's Wonderland (2021) — the Janitor
- Pig (2021) — Robin
- The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) — Nick Cage and Nicky
- Renfield (2023) — Count Dracula
Nicolas Cage in Fiction:
- Cage is mentioned in Homestuck, by way of the film Con Air. It's John's favourite movie (or was), but his favourite actor is stated to be Matthew McConaughey.
- However, he's Vriska's favourite actor.
- According to Hussie, in-universe he survived the meteor apocalypse and ascended to the God Tiers, becoming the Nick of Time. Given how lightly Hussie treats canon, who knows whether this is to be taken seriously, but...
- Nightmare Fuel.
The hidden "Dark Cage" animations take an image and vocal clips of Cage, and turn them into
- He is a fighter in Smash Bros. Lawl.
- He's a recurring character in Leet Fighters, serving his role as a teacher and a cop. No, really.
- On Community, Abed (a TV and movie addict with an Ambiguous Disorder) gets Professor Sheffield's critical analysis class on Who's the Boss? cancelled after successfully answering, with conclusive proof, the supposedly unanswerable question of who exactly "the boss" was (it was Angela). In a later season, he tries the same thing in Professor Garrity's class, "Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad?", but said question proves too much even for him, and he ends up going quite insane.
- On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake Peralta is a big fan of Cage and has all of his films in a large DVD collection he brings to a safe house he is staying at with Captain Holt and his husband Kevin. Kevin, a high culture aficionado, resents Jake for making him watch blockbuster action films like National Treasure and Face/Off. He only becomes angrier at the end when, after leaving the safe house, he learns Jake's collection also included Cage's more dramatic, heavy subject matter films such as Leaving Las Vegas that he might have actually enjoyed, but Jake considers boring.
Tropes associated with Nicolas Cage:
- Adam Westing: In recent years, it's become clear that Cage is completely aware of his reputation as a hammy Cloudcuckoolander, and has mocked himself a few times. His appearance on Saturday Night Live and the behind the scenes interviews on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ('Oh, you want me to go full Cage?') are evidence of this.
- Taken to its logical conclusion with him hosting the Netflix documentary History of Swear Words, where his literal first words are "Fuck are you lookin' at?" followed by him recreating famous lines in film (as well as two famous celebrity tantrums) with 'fuck' in them... with his own spin. Throughout the series, he also uses pieces of his own filmography to illustrate the use of swear words.
- And then it became the subject of an entire movie by itself.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Expect to be disappointed if you want to see Cage exclaim "YOU DON'T SAY!!!" in Vampire's Kiss.
- Conspicuous Consumption: He's well-known for his over-the-top spending habits, with his purchases of islands, dinosaur bones, and more leading to his trouble with the IRS.
- Doing It for the Art: Cage created and manages Saturn Films, which, if you follow the link, has a record of producing utterly terrible flops that all star Nicolas Cage. Neither the quality nor the lack of appeal of these films seem to put him off. This film company may have something to do with his financial troubles elaborated on below.
- Hidden Depths: It's a common misunderstanding that Cage is a 'bad' actor. He's an interesting actor, as he has said he always makes different choices for every role to avoid any one particular note (the adage goes that if you can remember an actor's performance, then they must have done something right, and Cage has had a lot of memorable performances). He has also been part of some of the biggest blockbuster movies, worked with some great directors, and in interviews he is highly insightful, citing obscure artists and references as basis for his performances. And then there are the times when he really decides to bring his A-game, and you are reminded of why he won an Oscar.
- Large Ham: It's what Nic's most well-known for. The man could over-act the alphabet, for crying out loud.
- Money, Dear Boy: Something to note is how much of his filmography is made up of films where his involvement has been motivated by having to take every piece of work available to him, no matter how bad or low-brow, after having racked up a significant tax debt (spending like this tends to do that to you) and needing to pay off the IRS.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name is spelled Nicolas, without an h between the C and the O.