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Film

How Nicolas Cage started Johnny Depp’s acting career

@TomTaylorFO

Both Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp have featured extensively in the news recently. Cage has been occupying column inches because of his fictionalised role as himself attempting to revive his career in the brilliant new film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, while Depp has been doing much the same in the tragic setting of a courtroom. However, the pair are linked well beyond the notion of being on separate sides of career revivals. As it happens, Cage was actually the man who got Depp into acting in the first place. 

In the early 1980s, Depp was a Hollywood hopeful in a different capacity to the Captain Jack Sparrow we now know. His musical passion was his first career choice back then. However, his songs weren’t passing muster and he was in need of another creative avenue to try and pursue a profit from.  

Depp had been rocking since he dropped out of school a year on from his parent’s divorce. When he tried to return to class two weeks later, his teacher told him that he was probably best served pursuing his dreams anyway and Depp was encouraged to turn on his heels and look for inlets in the entertainment industry. It wasn’t until he met Cage that this venture bore fruit. 

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In 1983, Depp married a make-up artist named Lori Anne Allison. The pair had met because she was the sister of the bass player in his band. At the time, the 20-year-old was picking up gigs and odd jobs wherever he could to support his passion, but with a lifestyle like that, bills were a constant bane to him. 

Allison had been working with Cage on a film and she later introduced Depp to the promising young thespian. This meeting proved a fateful one, as Depp recently revealed in court. “I ended up (in) acting by accident. I was a musician and I moved out to LA with my band when I was 20 years old…. There were a couple of things that happened where the band split up. I remember I was filling out a couple of job applications with a friend of mine,” Depp explained. 

Continuing: “He happens to be an actor less known than he is now, Nicolas Cage. I was filling out applications at video stores, clothing stores just to be able to pay the rent… Nic Cage said why don’t you meet my agent… cause I think you’re an actor… You could be an actor… I said I’ll meet anybody. I’ll do anything at this point.”

Cage clearly saw the potential in Depp and when Depp saw the dough, the rest was history. “I didn’t have any desire to be an actor. I was a musician but the fact that these people were going to pay me what I found to be a ludicrous sum of money. It was kinda the SAG minimum, it was $1284 a week… I’d never seen that kind of dough (before) in my life.” Chance would be a fine thing, a fine thing indeed. 

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