Nicolas Cage is one of Hollywood's hardest-working and most recognizable actors. He has had a successful career spanning 40 years and been in a string of big-time box office hits and a string of box office bombs. And despite his varied acting choices, he's always made a mark whatever his role.
He started in the early '80s, starring in the classic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "The Cotton Club", and the critically acclaimed Vietnam War drama "Birdy", where he infamously had two of his front teeth pulled out so he would look emaciated and disfigured. Roles in classics such as "Peggy Sue Got Married" and his Golden Globe-nominated role in "Moonstruck". Other notable films included "Honeymoon in Vegas", where he received another Golden Globe nomination, and the romcom "It Could Happen to You."
Then he hit his stride in the mid-1990s until 2011, winning an Oscar for "Leaving Las Vegas" and starring in a series of box office-winning action movies such as "The Rock," "Con Air," "Face/Off," "8mm" and "Gone in 60 seconds," the megahit "National Treasure" and its sequel. He then got into a rough patch, starring in a string of high-profile flops and forgettable films that Hollywood stopped calling.
Nevertheless, he still had his millions and was considered Hollywood royalty, so not too bad a situation for him, right? We were all wrong. "Tragedy" struck his life in the form of major debt and the IRS. He burned through his $150 million fortune and owed the IRS $7 million in property taxes. Nicolas Cage then accepted almost every good, bad or worse movie and even direct-to-video film offered to him to get himself out of debt.
The tide of public perception changed for Cage. He became a bit of a joke for his over-the-top acting, and the numerous memes and viral videos of his more off-the-wall characters and portrayals that took the internet by storm did not help.
People began to see him as a "has-been"; worse, younger people who were unfamiliar with him at his peak saw him as a meme. And though it affected him emotionally, he seems to have taken it in stride, patiently keeping his nose on the grindstone and quietly doing the work.
In recent years, Cage has experienced something of a career resurgence. He has fully paid off all his debts and is in line to be starring in a fair amount of upcoming high-profile roles in anticipated indie and conventional films. Though many critics have always said he was a vastly underrated actor, this sentiment is now shared by many film fans.
His "energy" is palpable. Even when he said yes to whatever role would pay him, you could tell he fully immersed himself in it and never phoned any performance. So here's to 30 more years of eclectic but always memorable performances for Nicolas Cage. You are a true Hollywood legend, made even more legendary by all the memes.
Directed by: Zane Whitener