|Nick Cage sporting that high hairline and|
vacuous stare that made him famous.
Ladies and Gentlemen, todays extension of my list into 20 Male Actors who influenced me the most is a man who receives a lot of joking backlash from the work he does. But his work in my opinion is some of most important examples of the weird, wild and brilliant in film history. He is always interesting and commonly brilliant. He has over one hundred films to his name and this is no small feat considering he’s only been working in film for thirty years. The majority of his work has been fantastic failures but the performance always possess an originality that is challenging and thought out, even if they come across as ‘over the top’ and comical. This is why he occupies the eighteenth spot on my list.
18- Nicolas Cage
Greatest Performance - Peter Leow (Vampire’s Kiss)
Honourable Mention - Damon MacReady/Big Daddy (Kick-Ass)
Worst Performance - Edward Malus (The Wicker Man (2006))
Nick Cage is an actor that most are divided upon. Some think he is schlock that is crazy and yells in every film to get a paycheck. Others think he has done is brilliant actor noting his films Raising Arizona or Adaptation, but I don’t particularly enjoy the vacuous Nick Cage of those films. What I respect and indeed enjoy Nick for is the way he always makes choices that destroy the accepted rules of what it means to act. He says it better in his own words from an interview from Inside the Actor’s Studio:
“To be a good actor you have to be something like a criminal, to be willing to break the rules to strive for something new.”
And Nick Cage is always new in his performances. Sometimes to the point of absurdity.
This ‘breaking of the rules’ is something I have always strived for in my work. I try to look at the way people see the character and do the exact opposite of what is expected. For instance when doing a classical monologue or soliloquy I have had countless people suggest not to direct the conversation to anyone, but this is wrong! They are conversations with tangible people, we have countless examples of actors who take these speeches and use them as direct address. This breaks the rules and often shows a new perspective into the words. I always strive to break the established rules, when performing, whatever they may be.
Going through Nick Cage’s canon there are many great performances, even Oscar winning ones, but his best on grounds of originality, depth and shear eccentricity is the literary agent Peter Leow from the dark comedy Vampire’s Kiss. For the uninitiated who have not seen this film, the plot line is as follows: Perter Leow thinks he is turning into a vampire and begins to go off the deep end into the world of fantasy. This performance breaks all the rules, he switches accents for no apparent reason, he makes extravagant moves that actually go faster then the cinematographer can capture and their is actually an unplanned scene where Peter in the throws of the Bela Lugosi like vampirism walks down a live New York street yelling “I am a vampire!” This film is unsettling and it is mainly from the unhinged antiestablishment chaos created by Cage. This film is antiestablishment to the Nth degree. (Nick Cage ate 3 cockroaches for this film. I am dead serious). As he sinks deeper into his insanity be begins to take on movement that is both Max Shreck and Lugosi inspired. You will see this and know that this is Nick Cage without the aid of makeup. I could not chose just one scene that encapsulates this performance so I found a montage of the best clips from the film. Enjoy this sequence and look at the braveness of the performance. Artaud would be proud especially considering some of the passersby are real.
It is extremely difficult to distill Nick Cage’s work down to this or that as it really is so varied, but his recent work in the film Kick-Ass is definitely amongst his best. It is well known that Nick is an avid comic book fan and in this film he is allowed to stretch his superhero knowledge. Hell, the man named his son Kal-El. He again channels other actors in his performance. Namely Adam West. This is most prevalent when he dons the Big Daddy mask, but his interpretation of father Damon MacReady is one of the most interesting fathers in recent cinema. Nick Cage choses to play him with the Adam West style cranial blunt delivery he had when he was Bruce Wayne, as seen in the following scene where he schools his daughter in how to take a bullet.
Again choosing Nick Cage’s worst performance is tough because he has plethora of misfires. But my choice of his destruction of the iconic Wicker Man deserves this moniker. I love the original British Horror film and this remake is a trash pile in the middle of a dump. I will concede I am not sure how much of this film is actually Nick Cage’s fault, but he didn’t help things. Just take a look at the bee torture scene. I have chosen an overview of just how much a misfire this film is.