After a string of box office flops like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Nicolas Cage somehow became the face of straight-to-VOD action movies. The once Oscar-winning actor started piling up these roles as reports surfaced that Cage was in deep financial trouble.
Cage blew through his $150 million fortune and owed the IRS $6.3 million in property taxes. To get out of the hole he dug for himself, Cage says he took any role he could get it.
Cage clarified this moment in his life in an interview with GQ, saying, “I’ve got all these creditors and the IRS and I’m spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mother out of a mental institution, and I can’t. It was just all happening at once.”
The actor refused to file for bankruptcy, even if people in Cage’s life were telling him it was the best option for him. Instead, he turned to VOD movies, starring in 29 films throughout the 2010s. Cage did stress that while he did do a hefty number of films, he never took on a role that he didn’t believe in.
“When I was doing four movies a year, back to back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all,” Cage said. “They didn’t work, all of them. Some of them were terrific, like Mandy, but some of them didn’t work. So if there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring.”
Guillermo del Toro went to Twitter to confirm Cage’s passion and intention for acting, writing, “He absolutely never, ever does anything but his best—I’ve said it before: there has not been, nor will there ever be an actor like Nicolas Cage. A master.”
Cage revealed that after a few films flopped in the box offices, “the phone stopped ringing” with offers for studio movies.
Cage said National Treasure 3 remains far out of reach, but the actor has found a new joy starring in indie movies, saying, “I enjoy making movies like Pigand Leaving Las Vegas more than I enjoy making movies like National Treasure.”
According to GQ, Cage officially paid off his debts a year and a half ago after signing on to star in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. That film, which stars Cage as a fictionalized version of himself, made a strong debut at the SXSW Film Festival this month.
Although finding yourself in a deep pit of debt is never enjoyable, Cage has found a new appreciation for the indie film, and we can’t help but love it, too. The wild and unassuming energy of Cage is always enjoyable to watch on screen, and we are glad to see him back on the silver screen where he belongs.
You can check out his new film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in theaters on April 22.