There are bad actors and then there is Nicolas Cage. Some people say that he’s the worst actor of all time. Others say that if film had a body, he’d be the cancer that is slowly killing it. I’ve also heard people say that the Hague is considering bringing him in for crimes against humanity for “Season of the Witch”. But I disagree. I think all of these people are just naysayers too busy with their naysayery to see the subtle genius of Nic Cage’s acting. Sure, on the surface it looks like he’s overacting but what he’s really doing is pushing the envelope. All things are circular. If he can go so far enough in the direction of total suckitude, his screeching rabid weasel acting method will loop its way around to being good, see?
I studied theater in college, (because I am collecting useless degrees), and I have learned so much about the craft of Thespis from Mr. Cage. Here are the three biggest lessons in acting Nic Cage taught me:
There are basically two ways to deliver lines in the Nic Cage Method: whispering or screaming. In order for a scene to be successful, it needs to build and have levels. If you start out with a vocal chord shredding scream then you have nowhere to go. However, if you silently whisper your first few lines and then progress to the full tilt howler monkey stage, the scene will be more successful. Also, don’t forget to make crazy eyes. Crazy eyes are the keys to your inner Nic Cage’s crazy crazy soul. This scene from The Vampire’s Kiss demonstrates this extremely technique well.
Your body is your instrument. Some actors prefer to use their instrument subtly like a violin. Nic Cage approaches it like Eddie Van Halen when he played his guitar with an electric drill. It’s important to make your movements seem natural and spontaneous. Nic is a master of this. He’ll just be standing there wearing a bear suit, when suddenly he lashes out and punches a woman in the face. I bet she didn’t see that coming! It may seem that Nic Cage’s actions are random and spastic. Well, you’re wrong. How does it feel to be so incorrect? He’s like a dancer who is prancing on a stage covered in broken glass and Jell-O. Watch his gracefulness in this clip from The Wicker Man. Also, take note of how to properly react to having dozens of bees sting your face.
In order to properly inhabit a character, it’s important to draw on your own life experiences. If your character is sad, you can think back to a time when you were sad to help you be more convincing. How did your face look? Did you cry? Did your head burst into a flaming skull? Nic Cage draws on his life too, only his life is far more badass than yours. For example, in this interview for Ghostrider, Cage explains that he was inspired by the movements of his pet cobras when he came up with how The Ghostrider moves. Yeah, he has pet cobras and yes, they hypnotize you by dancing like Axl Rose.
Article By Jack Tomas