Nicolas Cage has always been in the right place at the wrong time in the past – never more so than in superhero films.
Decades before they dominated the box office, Cage was tapped to play Superman in a Tim Burton adaptation called Superman lives, in which Cage imagined the Man of Steel as a loner and an outsider (paging emo Batman). This project never saw the light of day. In 2007 he returned to the comic world as the title character wrong way driver and 2011s Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, just before the Marvel wave hit big. These were a mediocre success — they banked, were panned by critics, and are remembered mostly for Cage playing a skeleton on fire.
But Cage has a longstanding personal connection to the issue. He’s a fan first: his prized copy of Action Comics #1, starring Superman, was once stolen from his home, only to be recovered by Cage and later auctioned for $2.1 million; he named his second son Kal-El after Superman’s birth name; and he even had to cover his actual flaming skull wrong way driver Tattoo while filming the wrong way driver movies.
All of this puts him in a unique position to offer thoughts on the approval of superhero films over the last 15 years. In addition to his documented love of superheroes, he is also a truly voracious cinephile with an appreciation for world cinema and a desire to continue acting in independent films. These are, of course, the very projects (along with the mid-budget film) being pushed out of theaters by blockbuster superhero franchises.
When we met in New Orleans for our second interview for the April cover story, Cage spoke of wanting to return to his indie roots, as he did with 2021 pig. As he looks to the future of his career, I asked him about the rumors that he would be appearing as Ghost Rider again any time soon Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. “Oh, I don’t think so. I don’t think they’re casting me,” Cage told me. “I mean I would. It would be fun. I would love to work with Cumberbatch, but I don’t think that will happen.”
Wanting to know his take on the Marvel phenomenon, I brought up so many directors, like Martin Scorsese and his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, they have criticized. (The former said, “I don’t think they’re cinema,” and the latter recently told it GQ that “a Marvel picture is a prototype film made over and over and over and over again to look different.”)
“Yes, why are you doing that?” said cage. “I don’t understand the conflict. I do not agree with them in that perception or opinion.”
I floated the idea that Marvel movies made it harder to produce other types of movies that Cage liked.
“I think the films I make are appealing pig or yeahThey don’t conflict with Marvel movies in any way,” he said. “I mean, I don’t think the Marvel movie had anything to do with the end of the tweener. By Tweener I mean the $30-$50 million budget film. I like films. If you look at power of dog, or if you look spencer, or any of Megan Ellison’s films. I think there’s still Paul Thomas Anderson.
“Marvel really did an excellent job of keeping the whole family entertained. You have given a lot of thought. I mean, it’s definitely made a big step forward since I did the first two wrong way driver movies. Kevin Feige, or whoever is behind this machine, has found a masterful way to weave the stories together and tie all the characters together. What could be wrong with wholesome entertainment that appeals to parents and children and gives people something to look forward to? I just don’t understand what the problem is.”
‘I don’t understand what the problem is’: Nicolas Cage opens up on Marvel movies
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