Nicolas Cage: Don't Call Me an 'Actor'

In interview, he defends his style, prefers the word 'thespian'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2022 1:15 PM CST
Nicolas Cage: Don't Call Me an 'Actor'
Nicolas Cage arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Pig" on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at the Nuart Theatre.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

In a new interview, Nicolas Cage appears aware he is opening himself up to some ridicule, but he doesn't seem to care, either. The 57-year-old spoke to Variety's Awards Circuit podcast, and Cage explained why he doesn't like the term "actor."

  • Preferred term: “For me it always implies, ‘Oh, he’s a great actor, therefore he’s a great liar,'" says Cage. “So with the risk of sounding like a pretentious a--hole, 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.”

  • Going deep: "In movies like Prisoners of the Ghost Land or even Face/Off or Vampire’s Kiss, I was experimenting with what I would like to call Western Kabuki or more Baroque or operatic style of film performance," says Cage. "Break free from the naturalism, so to speak, and express a larger way of performance.”
  • Rave reviews: All of the above appears to paying off in Cage's current film, Pig, in which he plays a truffle hunter searching for his missing pig. The movie has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and many of the reviews single out Cage. "The character that Cage portrays is incoherent, illustrative, and ludicrous, and yet his portrayal makes the movie," writes Richard Brody at the New Yorker. It's a "superb, triumphant performance," writes Wenlei Ma at
  • Full interview: Read or listen here. Cage talks about having an out-of-body experience in Face/Off, and he also credits aunt Talia Shire for her influence on his acting.
(More Nicolas Cage stories.)

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