It has been a long road back to prosperity for Nicolas Cage.
The Academy Award-winning actor was once a leading man banking $20 million a film. But after a series of financial downfalls following the death of his father caused him to lose his $150 million fortune and owe millions in back payment for property taxes, the one time King had hit hard times.
In order to dig himself out of the hole, Cage proceeded to make a series of small-budget independent movies over the last decade that he used to pay off his debts and avoid bankruptcy. After a long road of struggle the actor has officially paid off his debts and is moving forward with his career but he has no plans to leave the indie scene.
In an interview with GQ magazine, Cage confirmed that he officially finished paying off all his debts a year and a half ago. Cage talked about just how bad of a hole he was in financially and what it took for him to come out.
“I’ve got all these creditors and the IRS and I’m spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mother out of a mental institution, and I can’t,” Cage said about his debts. “It was just all happening at once.”
In 2014, Cage owed the IRS $6.3 million in property taxes and upwards of $14 million overall to his creditors. His big screen career had fizzled out following the release and financial flops of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
He was taking every acting role he could in order to get out of debt. Some of the roles that Cage took over the years include the critically acclaimed film “Mandy,” a film that featured Cage as a man looking for vengeance against a demonic hippie cult who murdered his girlfriend.
Other roles included “Willy’s Wonderland,” a film where Cage hunts down animatronic monsters without saying a single word in the film.
Last year “Pig” made headlines based on the bizarre trailer and premise of a truffle hunter in the Oregon wilderness on the hunt for his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.
Cage insists that despite the roles he took, he never phoned in a performance on screen.
“When I was doing four movies a year, back to 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 terrific, like ‘Mandy,’ but some of them didn’t work. But I never phoned it in. So if there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring.”
Cage went on to say that he plans to continue making indie films as he enjoys the process more than making big-budget studio movies citing studios like Disney leaving him in the dust when he was down financially.
“I enjoy making movies like ‘Pig’ and ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ more than I enjoy making movies like ‘National Treasure,’” he said.
“When I talk 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’ve got to get a million tugboats to try to swivel it back around.”
Not only would Cage discuss Disney, but he also talked about Hollywood in general and the idea that he’s a madman.
The Rock actor stated, ““The misconception that I’m crazy, which people seem to enjoy, the madman or whatever—to which I simply say you can’t survive 43 years in Hollywood or star in over 120 movies if you’re crazy.’
“You’re not going to get bonded. They’re not going to work with you,” he added.
Cage would also reiterate his commitment to acting, but also that moving forward he’s going to be much more selective in the roles he takes.
“I’m just going to focus on being extremely selective, as selective as I can be,” he said. “I would like to make every movie as if it were my last.”
His latest project entitled “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is an action-comedy where Nicolas Cage stars as a fictionalized version of himself in a wacky adventure dealing with a billionaire superfan of his. The film also stars Pedro Pascal and Tiffany Haddish.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” opens in movie theaters on April 22.
What do you make of Nicolas Cage’s road to recovery?