Nicolas Cage Doesn't Want to Be Called an Actor

According to Nicolas Cage, he would prefer if you didn't call him an "actor." Cage has an animal co-star in Pig, where he plays a former chef who is out to rescue his kidnapped porker. The eclectic actor has starred in some memorable roles, including the vigilante Big Daddy in Kick-Ass, the treasure-seeking Ben Gates in National Treasure, Castor Troy in Face/Off, and the Spirit of Vengeance in Ghost Rider. But when it comes to being referred to as an actor, Cage believes another term is a better fit for him.

Cage was a guest on Variety's Awards Circuit podcast, where he spoke about his wide-ranging career. It's here that Cage offered up the word "thespian" to describe his acting talents. "For me it always implies, 'Oh, he's a great actor, therefore he's a great liar,'" Cage said. "So with the risk of sounding like a pretentious asshole, 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."

He then discussed how his choices in film roles come down to avoiding expectations. "It was my aunt Talia Shire who first said to me, 'Naturalism is a style,'" he said. "And I was also a big believer in arts synchronicity, and that what you could do with one art form you could do and another meaning. You know, in painting, for example, you can get abstract, you can get photorealistic, you can get impressionistic, why not try that with film performance?"

He added: "Stanislavski said the worst thing an actor can do is imitate. Being a bit of a rebel, I wanted to break that rule. So I tried with Wild at Heart, a Warhol-like approach to the Sailor Ripley character. 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. Break free from the naturalism, so to speak, and express a larger way of performance."

One of Cage's newest roles will come in Renfield, a Dracula spinoff from director Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War, The LEGO Batman Movie). The script comes from Rick and Morty's Ryan Ridley and is based on an outline from The Walking Dead and Invincible co-creator Robert Kirkman. Cage will play Dracula himself, with Nicholas Hoult playing Dracula's henchman Renfield.


Do you consider Nicolas Cage more of an actor or thespian? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!