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Here Are the Best Things Nicolas Cage Said During His Career-Spanning SXSW Talk

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire March 11, 2014 at 10:10AM

In introducing his "Joe" star Nicolas Cage to the stage at a SXSW panel held in the actor's honor, director David Grodon Green called the Oscar-winner a "mysterious and magical man." His words couldn't have been more apt.
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Cage loves using Facetime.

One of the more touching moments of the talk came when an audience member told Cage he had recently gotten hitched and needed advice on how to keep the fire alive, even when separated for long periods due to a grueling work schedule. "There is one aspect of technology that has been helpful," Cage responded, "and that is Facetime. It's been an enormous help with my eight-year-old and my wife. I would also try to work in some summer vacations."

"In my opinion, I don't want to see personal aspects of someone's life eclipse the work itself."

Cage is all about keeping it simple now.

"I've satisfied a certain need in my own head about performance style," Cage said. "I think ‘Face/Off' is the best example of that. I'm at this time wanting to get more ‘quietude,' what Hemingway would call the taut fishing line. I wanted to have that simplicity again. I want to stay in that world a little longer. ‘Joe' gave me the opportunity to explore that."

How Cage taps into that rage he showcases in almost every performance.

"I just open myself up to the zeitgeist," Cage said. "I think about what's happening in the news, tap it in and get there."

How Cage sees himself in film history.

"I think the jury's still out," Cage said. "I see myself as a student. I'll hopefully do more seasoned kinds of performances as I get older. I don't know what the final evaluation is going to be and I try to not think about it."

He really loves science fiction.

Asked about his known love for the genre, Cage said, "There are two aspects to science fiction that I think are important. One is that it can provide an engine to get far out in terms of performance style. But the more significant one… ‘District 9' is one my favorite movies. With science fiction, we get to make social comments. You can speak your mind as the people about what's frustrating you. It's a great way to be political in a way without getting people hurt."

Cage initially didn't want to do "Moonstruck."

When asked about the making of "Moonstruck," Cage admitted that he didn't want to do what he deemed a "Hallmark movie" at first. As a deal to his agent for allowing him to make "Vampire's Kiss," Cage signed on for "Moonstruck" after Cher sought him out. "I don't really know why she wanted in the movie," he said. "She kept fighting for me. She saw me in ‘Peggy Sue Got Married' and said it was like watching a two-hour train wreck. It was pretty intimidating to be her leading man."

"Vampire's Kiss"
"Vampire's Kiss"

Cage's two favorite roles.

As Policeman Edward Malus in Neil LaBute's critically reviled remake of "The Wicker Man," and as a literary agent who gets bitten by a vampire in "Vampire's Kiss."

The film Cage wants to be remembered by.

"This one," Cage said, meaning Green's film, "Joe." "This is the one I would like, because it has a little bit of everything in it. He [Green] understood me and my instrument. ‘Joe' is the best showcase I have to offer."

Cage's advice to anyone going through a difficult patch.

Near the end of the panel, a woman who works for the publication Dazed and Confused opened up to Cage and the audience, saying that she went through a difficult period following a DUI incident last year in Austin. Relating it to Cage's recent brush with the law in New Orleans, she asked Cage how he soldiers on. "The thing that I would say is you gotta be an alchemist," Cage responded. "You gotta turn lead into gold, turn negative into positive. For me, I'm able to put my mistakes into my work. Because of my arrest, I was able to do some scenes in ‘Joe' and mean it."

"I'm certain you can do the same thing," he told the woman. "Now you have that so-called mistake, but it's also a life experience that's going to deepen the way you receive people in the world. Don't shit on yourself. I would be proud of yourself and do something positive."

Nicolas Cage, spiritual leader.

This article is related to: Nicolas Cage, David Gordon Green, Features, SXSW 2014, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Interviews, Lists





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