American actor and director, Ethan Hawke, has established himself as one of the biggest names in Hollywood with stellar performances in films like Dead Poets Society and Richard Linklater’s iconic Before Trilogy. He has been honoured with some of the most coveted prizes in the world of cinema, including multiple Academy Award nominations as well as an Independent Spirit Award for his fantastic work in First Reformed.
In an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Hawke was asked about many of his experiences working on various productions as well as his colleagues over the years. While speaking about one particular thespian, Hawke gushed with praise and compared the contemporary actor to some of the greatest acting talents in the history of cinema.
Hawke showered his colleague with compliments, implying that he has something that many modern actors don’t: “He’s the only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art of acting; he’s successfully taken us away from an obsession with naturalism into a kind of presentation style of acting that I imagine was popular with the old troubadours.”
By reading Hawke’s description, one would assume that he is talking about someone like Daniel Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix. However, he was commenting on the talents of none other than the star of Ghost Rider – Nicolas Cage. The two had collaborated on the 2005 crime drama Lord of War which starred Cage as an illegal arms dealer.
Hawke added: “If I could erase his bottom half bad movies, and only keep his top half movies, he would blow everyone else out of the water. He’s put a little too much water in his beer, but he is still one of the great actors of our time. And working with him was an absolute pleasure. In fact, one of my favourite scenes I’ve ever done is the last scene in Lord of War.”
Nicolas Cage recently entered public discourse again with a strangely mesmerising performance as a reclusive truffle hunter named Robin Feld in Pig. The film is an impressive deconstruction of cinematic violence and a refutation of Cage’s established persona. “I do feel that I’ve gone into my own wilderness and that I’ve left the small town that is Hollywood,” Cage said in an interview.
Cage continued: “I don’t know exactly why Rob left his stardom. It’s never fully explained, and I like that about the movie. But as for me, I don’t know if I’d want to go back. I don’t know if I’d want to go and make another Disney movie. It would be terrifying. It’s a whole different climate. There’s a lot of fear there.”