These days, it doesn’t take much for a Hollywood star to become a meme and have it hang over their career for several years. Nicholas Cage is perhaps the perfect embodiment of this: over the decades, there’ve been so many memes made of his various roles—from Con Air and National Treasure to Face/Off and Ghost Rider. Being Nicholas Cage is a meme unto itself at this point, as we saw with last year’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and just a few months ago with his Superman cameo in The Flash.
During a recent interview with The Guardian to promote his upcoming film Dream Scenario, Cage expressed his feelings on being such a big part of internet culture. In calling himself “[maybe] the first actor [to experience] memeification,” he admitted that it initially got under his skin, largely due to the fact that said memes were ripping moments out of context for a quick laugh. “[Someone] had cherrypicked from all these different movies where I was having meltdowns, but without any regard for how the character got to that place,” he said, “[and] I didn’t know what people were taking from the movies other than that.”
As an actor who took up the craft because he fell in love with film performances, he was candid in saying he didn’t do movies “to become a meme. I didn’t understand how to process what was happening.” But over time, Cage made peace with it, believing that such memes would eventually “compel someone to go back and look at the movies.”
In Dream Scenario, Cage plays Paul, a college professor who discovers he’s randomly appearing in the dreams of complete strangers and looks to monetize his unusual ability. Like Unbearable Weight, it’s a premise he’s oddly suited for, and he likened Paul’s attempts at monetizing his unusual ability to real-life gambling: “When fame turns on you, the effects of loss….are more profound than the effects of winning. There’ve been moments when things were broadcast about my finances, or mistakes I’d made became extremely public, and I felt all that.”
The Guardian’s interview shows that Cage has been able to embrace his meme status without letting it completely overtake him, saying he works to get himself “[into] a purer place of expression. It’s starting to kick into a high gear for me with Pig and Dream Scenario because they’re personal. I’m putting these feelings from my life into these characters. And with any luck, it’s connecting or communicating with the audience.”
Dream Scenario hits theaters on November 10. io9 saw it at Fantastic Fest this past September, and you can read our thoughts on it here.
*Dream Sequence is produced by A24, an independent studio that is not a part of the AMPTP. They have signed an interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA to allow actors like Cage to promote the movie.
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