The return to prosperity was long for Nicolas Cage.
The Oscar-winning actor was once a top man earning $20 million a movie. But after a series of financial meltdowns following his father’s death cost him his $150 million fortune and owe him millions in back property taxes, the only time King had fallen on hard times .
In order to get out of the hole, Cage made a string of low-budget independent films over the past decade that he used to pay off debts and stave off bankruptcy. After a long road of struggle, the actor has officially paid off his debts and is moving on with his career, but he has no plans to quit the independent scene.
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In an interview with GQ magazine, Cage confirmed that he officially finished paying off all his debts a year and a half ago. Cage opened up about how he was in a financial hole and what it took to get out.
“I have all these creditors and the IRS and I’m spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mom out of a mental institution, and I can’t,” Cage said of his debts. “Everything was happening at the same time.”
In 2014, Cage owed the IRS $6.3 million in property taxes and more than $14 million in total to his creditors. His big screen career had died out after the release and financial flops of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
He took all the acting roles he could to get out of debt. Some of the roles Cage has played over the years include the critically acclaimed film “Mandy”, a film which featured Cage as a man seeking revenge against an evil hippie cult who murdered his girlfriend.
Other roles included “Willy’s Wonderland”, a movie where Cage hunts down animatronic monsters without saying a single word in the movie.
Last year, “Pig” made headlines based on the bizarre trailer and premise of a truffle hunter in the Oregon wilderness in search of his beloved foraging pig. after his abduction.
Cage insists that despite the roles he’s taken, he’s never phoned in an on-screen performance.
“When I was doing four movies a year, back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all,” Cage said. “They didn’t work, all of them. Some of them were great, like “Mandy”, but some of them didn’t work out. But I never phoned. So if there was a misconception, that was it. That I was just doing this and didn’t care. I cared.
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Cage went on to say that he plans to continue making independent films as he enjoys the process more than making big budget studio films citing studios like Disney leaving him in the dust as he struggled financially. .
“I love doing movies like ‘Pig’ and ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ more than I love doing movies like ‘National Treasure’,” he said.
“When I’m talking about fair weather friends in Hollywood, I’m not talking about ‘National Treasure’ producer Jerry Bruckheimer, I’m talking about Disney. They’re like an ocean liner. Once they go in a certain direction, you have to get a million tugs to try to swing it.
Not only would Cage discuss Disney, but he would also talk about Hollywood in general and the idea that he was a lunatic.
The Rock actor said: “‘The misconception that I’m crazy, people seem to like, crazy or whatever – which I’m just saying you can’t survive 43 years in Hollywood or act in over 120 movies if you’re crazy.’
“You are not going to be bound. They are not going to work with you,” he added.
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Cage would also reiterate his commitment to acting, but also that going forward he will be much more selective in the roles he takes on.
“I’m just going to focus on being extremely selective, as selective as possible,” he said. “I would like to do every movie as if it were my last.”
His latest project titled “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is an action-comedy where Nicolas Cage stars as a fictionalized version of himself in a goofy adventure dealing with one of his billionaire superfans. The film also stars Pedro Pascal and Tiffany Haddish.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” hits theaters on April 22.
What do you think of Nicolas Cage’s recovery path?
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