Nicolas Cage’s NY Times Interview Had 10 All-Time Facts

Nicolas Cage Facts -- New York Post April 2014

Nicolas Cage image via New York Post April 2014

I read the NY Times interview with Nicolas Cage and it had some interesting facts and stories about the legendary actor that are worth highlighting.

Nicolas Cage Had 2 King Cobras as Pets

“I did have two king cobras, and they were not happy. They would try to hypnotize me by showing me their backs, and then they’d lunge at me. After I told that story on ‘Letterman,’ the neighborhood wasn’t too pleased that I had cobras, so I had them re-homed in a zoo.”

As a non-celebrity, owning a King Cobra is either a death wish or a sign you’ve got psychopathic tendencies. If you’re a celebrity, it’s understandable. When you’ve tried to build an interesting persona, you can’t just own a cat. You’ve gotta go balls wall.

And if you want to dip your toe in the Crazy Hookup Pool, you need street cred. Sure, you’re a larger-than-life actor who’s made bold choices on the big screen but can you roll with a deadly snake? However, owning 2 King Cobras? And getting hypnotized by them? Death Wish City.

I DID drink two 40s of King Cobra premium malt liquor back to back, though, and survived. My liver still winces anytime I bring that up.

Nicolas Cage Did Mushrooms with His Cat

“[A] friend of mine gave me this bag of mushrooms, and my cat would go in my refrigerator and grab it, almost like he knew what it was. He loved it. Then I started going, ‘I guess I’ll do it.’ It was a peaceful and beautiful experience. But I subsequently threw them out.”

It’s no surprise Cage has done mushrooms. But, the fact he did it BECAUSE of a cat is so Cage. I’m not a cat person. And now I’m the angry stepfather to two. I’ve also never done mushrooms. I have friends who’ve done it and have wanted me to do it but my brain is the domain of Swamp Thing – it’s a toxic, radioactive marsh. And, if mushrooms ever come into contact with that, my life insurance policy will take effect.

I mean, I get paranoid no matter what kind of weed enters my system and mushrooms are unpredictable (I think?), so I’m out. I have night terrors, folks. That’s a bonafide, certifiable guarantee that if I take mushrooms, a horror movie marathon IRL ensues.

Animals Inspired Nic Cage’s Performances

“The cobras, definitely. They would try to hypnotize you by going side to side, and when I did Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, that’s something my character does before he attacks. Animals are fun places to get inspiration. Actually, I thought Heath Ledger was doing some reptilian stuff as the Joker, with the tongue darting out all the time.”

I actually think this is pretty cool. I’m fascinated by the process actors go through to get into character. There are plenty of people who scoff at Cage’s acting but at least my man’s trying to mix things up and make the performance memorable.

Nicolas Cage Channeled Woody Woodpecker for The Coen Brothers

Raising Arizona: Perhaps there was confusion about where I was going, but the Coen brothers went along. They didn’t mind that I was channeling Woody Woodpecker.”

Granted, it’s been a minute since I’ve seen Raising Arizona but never in a million years would I have guessed Woody Woodpecker was the source material for Cage’s performance. Sure, the movie and Cage’s character can come off as cartoonish, but I’m trying to wrap my head around how an animated bird with a kooky cackle was bouncing off the walls of Cage’s cranium while he’s delivering lines.

Nicolas Cage Wanted To Channel a Gumby Show Character for Peggy Sue Got Married

Francis Ford Coppola and Peggy Sue Got Married. “Look, I’ll do it if you let me go really far out with the character.” “How far out?” “I want to talk like Pokey from ‘The Gumby Show.’

I would pay good, cold hard cash to see the expression of Francis Ford Coppolla’s face when his nephew said Pokey from the Gumby Show. And kudos to Cage for saying it with a straight face. I’m trying not to crack up while typing this, I can only imagine powering through that sentence in all seriousness.

And have you heard Pokey’s voice? It’s really not what you’d expect from a claymation horse. It’s like a matter-of-fact, straight-shootin’, old-timey news reporter’s voice with just a touch of helium. Way less wacky than Gumby’s. Someone out there must know how to modify Cage’s voice to sound more like Pokey’s in that movie.

I’d say 99% of actors use other actors or other humans when trying to get into character. Nic Cage is officially in the 1% of actors who uses things other than humans — animals, cartoons. I imagine John Malkovich, Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tilda Swinton are in that exclusive club. We need an Avengers meets Expendables with that cast.

John Stamos Inspired Nicolas Cage in Peggy Sue Got Married

John Stamos — a million years ago he did a commercial for L’eggs pantyhose. In it he said, “I love L’eggs pantyhose!” And the way he went “love” — he expressed it with almost a rock ’n’ roll screech. I saw that commercial, and I had to put it in “Peggy Sue Got Married.” I was playing Charlie Bodell, and I’m with Kathleen Turner, and I said: “I’m in love with you.” I’ve told John about this. He took the compliment.”

The Times pointed out that “the commercial was actually for Neet hair remover, and Stamos’s line was ‘I love girls with great-lookin’ legs. I love Neet girls.'”

They say Nic Cage is a time-traveling vampire and I have to believe the same holds true for Stamos. I hope to God that Cage donates his mind to science if he ever decides to pass. His ability to reference and access such a random occurrence to fuel his art in what would appear to be two completely unrelated forums is astonishing.

Btw, “he took the compliment” makes it sound like Cage intimidated Stamos into taking it as a compliment.

Nicolas Cage Gave Johnny Depp His Start in the Biz

“I was living in an old building in Hollywood called the Fontenoy, and I think I ultimately rented the apartment to Johnny, and he started living there. He was at the point in his career where he was selling pens or something to get by. He would take my money and buy cocktails but wouldn’t tell me about it. He admitted it later. But anyway, we were good friends, and we would play Monopoly, and he was winning a game, and I was watching him and I said, “Why don’t you just try acting?” He wanted to be a musician at the time, and he told me, “No, I can’t act.” I said, “I think you can act.” So I sent him to meet with my agent. She sent him out on his first audition, which was A Nightmare on Elm Street. He got the part that day. Overnight sensations don’t happen. But it happened with him.”

Is this one of the most Hollywood stories you’ve ever heard? Just the fact that Cage and Depp played Monopoly is bonkers, but the added tidbit that Depp sold pens is gold. SOLD PENS! I’m assuming high-end pens to high-end executives? How have these two never been in a movie together? To be a fly on the wall for that Monopoly game, though. I picture Depp trying to cheat every step of the way and Cage getting ultra intense. NO WAY that game didn’t end with a broken board and pieces everywhere.

Nicolas Cage Made Bank on a Stolen Comic Book

Action Comics No. 1: I bought that for $150,000. Then it was stolen. I got it back and sold it for $2 million.”

The Times also points out that “the comic features the first appearance of Superman. Cage has a son named Kal-El, which is Superman’s birth name.”

This reminds me that I need to watch The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? It’s the behind-the-scenes documentary of the 1998 Superman reboot starring Cage, directed by Tim Burton, and written by Kevin Smith that was killed weeks before filming. In an alternate universe, the movie came out and it bombs, and all involved go into hiding for a decade. In another, it becomes a cult classic. In another, it’s wildly successful and we finally get Johnny Depp and Cage in the same film when Depp plays Bizarro.

Nicolas Cage Had To Give Back a Dinosaur Skull He Bought

“I did spend $276,000 on (a dinosaur skull). I bought it at a legitimate auction and found out it was abducted from Mongolia illegally, and then I had to give it back.”

And he didn’t get his money back. Hey listen, at some point, you earn enough money, you make one nutty purchase and it doesn’t work out but you look at your bank account and you’re like wow, that didn’t make a dent, you must feel invincible. Any kind of buyer’s remorse quickly fades and you must be like let’s see how far we can take this thing. And eventually, you stop looking at your account and the people around you don’t even bother warning you.

Earlier in the interview, Cage said when he first started acting, it was about the money but you get the feeling he finally got all the money and was like now what? Considering he said he’s got an elite imagination, it’s a miracle any money stays in his possession for longer than a second. He also admitted he’s too proud to declare bankruptcy, which I can dig.

Nic Cage Has a Pyramid Tomb for Himself in New Orleans

“I became a man in New Orleans, if you know what I mean. The city has a soft spot in my heart, though there are things that can go horribly wrong there.”

So, Nic Cage lost his virginity in The Big Easy huh? That’s either a very entertaining story or delves down a emo-hole I might not climb out of. He absolutely nailed the description of the city.

Cage has such a strong connection to Vegas that I thought when he passed away, his funeral would be some kind of magic show where you find out he’s still alive and Johnny Depp ends up in the pyramid tomb.

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