Nicolas Cage insists he wasn’t being ‘pretentious’ over desire to identify as a thespian
Nicolas Cage insists he wasn’t trying to be “pretentious” when he said during lockdown he would rather identify as a thespian than an actor.
The ‘Face/Off’ Oscar-winner, 59, made global headlines after he told Variety in 2021 he was fearful of the term acting being linked with an ability to lie, and admitted he sees his art as “more like shamanism” – while acknowledging his beliefs may sound “absurd and ridiculous”.
Cage opened up about his past comments in an appearance on ‘The Late Show’ with Stephen Colbert to promote his forthcoming Dracula spin-off horror comedy ‘Renfield’, when he asked by the host to explain why “being pretentious is appealing to you?”
The actor/thespian replied: “What I was saying was, of course you can call me an actor.
“And by the way, I never said, ‘Don’t call me an actor. Call me a thespian.’
“That’s what the clickbait universe was doing and put out there and somehow it got picked up by CNN.
“I’m not sure how it got picked up by CNN. I’m sure they have more important things to report on.
“I see acting as storytelling and what it is is trying to get to the truth of a character.”
Cage added the first actor in Europe was called Thespus, who broke free from a Greek chorus and started narrating and telling a story truthfully.
He said: “I see acting as storytelling and what it is is trying to get to the truth of a character and the first actor in Europe was someone called Thespus and what happened there in Greece was that he broke free from the chorus and started narrating and started telling a story truthfully.
“So to me, acting is trying to find the truth of a story.”
“Now what’s interesting, literally the word ‘actor’ in Greek means ‘hypocrite’. Well, I don’t want to be thought of as a hypocrite. I’m sorry if that sounds pretentious.”
Cage also listed his top five films starring himself as ‘Pig’, ‘Mandy’, ‘Bringing out the Dead’, ‘Bad Lieutenant’ and ‘Joe’.
He said: “I’m going to start with ‘Pig’ – that is my favourite movie I have ever made.
“I love ‘Mandy’, the movie that Panos (Cosmatos) directed. I love ‘Bringing out the Dead’ that Martin Scorsese directed. I loved ‘Bad Lieutenant’ (by) Werner Herzog. I loved a movie called ‘Joe’ that David Gordon Green directed.”
When Colbert told him he listed ‘Face/Off’ in his list of top five Cage films, the star replied: “Oh I like that one a lot. You know what is interesting about ‘Face/Off’ and I, I could have mentioned ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ because ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ was a little movie I made where I was able to explore my more abstract dreams with film performance.
“I was sadly playing a character who was losing his mind, but he was beginning to think that he was.
“The Vampire from the original Nosferatu movie. And when you’re playing a character who’s losing his mind, he can believe he’s Nosferatu.
“So I gotta act like a German expressionist silent movie star, and that was cool, like these facial expressions and whatnot.
“But ‘Face/Off’ was a big movie, a big studio movie that I made at Paramount, and I was able to use what I learned from this little ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ movie and put it in this giant movie. And it worked.
“And I was like, ‘People really dig this.’ So I was very happy with those results.”