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Film

Nicolas Cage once revealed his ultimate "musical hero"

@SamWKemp

The memeification of Nicolas Cage has done a lot to disguise that he was once a highly respected actor. These days, Cage is just that crazy actor who does crummy roles in crummy movies—but let’s not forget that he’s also an Academy Award winner. In 1995, he won Best Actor for his role in the film Leaving Las Vegas.

After winning the hearts of the Hollywood Foreign Press, Cage became one of the most castable leading men in the industry and used that notoriety to take on a diverse range of roles in an effort to push his acting into new territory. Some of the movies he signed up for – ie. Adaptation, Face/Off, Bad Luitenant – are actually pretty damn good. Others, such as the hilariously off-kilter Wicker Man remake and the 2007 action flick Ghost Rider are forgettable at best.

Perhaps the most readily forgotten Nicolas Cage film was the 2010 fantasy drama The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which arrived at a time when Hollywood was churning out YA book-to-film adaptations as though they were going out of fashion, which, funnily enough, they were.

Shortly after the release of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – starring the likes of Monica Belluci, Alfred Molina, and Jay Baruchel – Cage, joined by Baruchel, took part in an interview in which he was asked to name his all-time musical hero. Baruchel was quick to reply: naming The Beatles and Louis Armstrong and noting that he’d love to see biopics made of both. “I’m fascinated by what made The Beatles The Beatles,” he said, “I think Louis Armstrong is an amazing character that no one really gets or understands.”

Cage, meanwhile, named Tom Waits as his ultimate musical hero, a fitting choice for an individual who prides himself on subverting expectations. The pair actually worked together on the 1983 Francis Ford Copolla film Rumble Fish, the second of two adaptions of the S.E Hinton novel of the same name, the first of which, The Outsiders, was Tom Cruise’s first taste of Hollywood.

Rumble Fish, starring Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage and Tom Waits, tells the story of a street thug who struggles to live up to his brother’s fearsome reputation. While he’s only in a few scenes, Waits brings a hefty dose of simmering existential madness to his portrayal of Benny, the owner of a diner in the centre of town, where Rusty (Dillon) and Smokey (Cage) like to play pool. Cage looks surprisingly young and spritely, curls so buoyant he looks as though he might float away in a strong wind. Alas, his acting, leaves something to be desired.

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