Nicolas Cage has made quite the acting career from playing whacked out weirdos, but one particular role has proven to be too much for him. In The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, he plays a “highly neurotic, anxiety-ridden” version of himself. But when it comes to actually watching himself play the extremely meta role, well, Cage admits it would be too much of a “whacked-out trip.”
In the Tom Gormican-directed action-comedy, Cage stars as a metafictional version of himself, who takes on a final acting performance with a $1 million payday. The gig involves performing the iconic characters from his career at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire and notorious drug lord (played by Pedro Pascal), who also happens to be a Cage superfan. As expected, things quickly spiral out of control for the down-on-his luck actor.
“I’m never going to see that movie,” Cage tells Collider in a recent interview.
“I’m told it’s a good movie,” he continues. “My manager, Mike Nilon, who is also a producer on it, looked at it. He was very happy. I’m told the [test] audience loved the movie. But it’s just too much of a whacked-out trip for me to go to a movie theater and watch me play [director] Tom Gormican’s highly-neurotic, anxiety-ridden version of me.”
Despite what people see in his onscreen roles, Cage says he’s just not that type of guy in real life.
“[Tom] kept pushing me in that direction. I said, ‘Tom, that’s not really me. I’m really [made of] quiet, meditative, thoughtful moments. I’m not this neurotic, high-strung, anxiety-ridden guy all the time,’” Cage recalls. “But he said, ‘Well, neurotic Cage is the best Cage.’ I said, ‘Okay, okay. Let’s go, man. I’ll do what you want.’”
Cage not only needed bring out the “full-Cage,” but he also needed to get in touch with his younger self again. As an added layer, throughout The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, Cage plays his younger doppelgänger who haunts the downtrodden older version of himself. “It’s a stylized version of me, and the fact I even have to refer to myself in the third person makes me extremely uncomfortable,” Cage said in an interview with Empire last year. “There are many scenes in the movie where modern or contemporary—here we go—‘Nic Cage’ and then young ‘Nic Cage’ are colliding and arguing and battling it out. It’s an acrobatic approach to acting.”
In addition to Cage and Pascal, the film stars Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan (Disenchantment), and Alessandra Mastronardi (Master Of None).
“I won’t see it,” he tells the interviewer, “But I do hope you enjoy it.”
The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent premieres April 22, 2022. Cage’s other upcoming features include Japan-set Prisoners Of The Ghostland, which arrives in theaters tomorrow. He’s also saddling up for two Westerns: The Old Way and Butcher’s Crossing.