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The 3rd Cage Blog in the Countdown to 100 HD blogs: 
 
 
 
Since Cage has been in financial debt, people have assumed that every movie he makes is based strictly on repaying taxes to the IRS. However, in interviews Cage offers detailed and succinct, if not bizarre, explanations for his artistic choices. 

The guiding explanation for all movie choices in his own words:

[Winning another Oscar] is not important to me. In fact, I think that if you go about making movies to win Oscars, you're really going about it the wrong way. I think that it's ... right now, what I'm excited about is trying to create a [pauses] kind of a cultural understanding through my muse that is part of the zeitgeist that isn't motivated by vanity or magazine covers or awards. It's more, not countercultural, but counter-critical. I would like to find a way to embrace what Led Zeppelin did, in filmmaking. Do you know what I mean? They did no press, you know... And they were the biggest band in the world and they remained intimately mysterious -- because they just went about it their own way, or against what the advice might have been or what the council might have been. And I admire that. And I would like to tap into more exploration of horror films and just everything that I shouldn't be doing, according to representation.
 


http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/14/nicolas-cage-ghost-rider_n_1276535.html


I. G-Force
 
 
Tagline: A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world.

Salary: not listed
 
“I think Guinea pigs are boring… I want a character with a long tale that says I dare you to pick me up… I need a character with opinion and purpose, I need that guy.”
 
 
He played a mole. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9GGIC_59ZY

II.   Drive Angry
 

Imdb Tagline: A vengeful father escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter

Salary: $6,000,000

Nic's Explanation:
 
"Yeah, well I read the script and they said that…when I read it my eye was going to be shot out and I remember on a movie called “Season of the Witch” I wanted them to shoot my eye out with an arrow. And the producers didn’t go for that, so when it was handed to me in this movie that they were going to shoot my eye out with a gun I thought, “yeah I’m going to make that movie.”
 

http://collider.com/drive-angry-3d-interview-nicolas-cage-on-set-interview/38421/ 

III.   Season of the Witch

Tagline: 14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.

Salary: Not available

Nic's Explanation:
 
 
“I think there’s a strong buddy film aspect to it relationships amongst the boys in the movie, there’s a road trip aspect to it almost like Wages of Fear except without nitroglycerin in this case with Claire Foy playing with the witch and that’s really why I wanted to make the movie was the scenes that we had together, which kind of pushed the movie into these philosophical big questions of about the unexplained.”
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoHEq-5G1r4 


IV.   Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Imdb Tagline: Master sorcerer Balthazar Blake recruits a seemingly everyday guy in his mission to defend New York City from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath.

Salary: The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010): $12,000,000

Nic's Explanation: 
 
“Well the reason this all happened for me was I had an interest, began to have an interest in arhturian mythology and the grail cycle particularly acient England. And I was trying to find a way to start making a movie that resonated that in some way. At the same time I wanted to make family, I’m eclectic, I like the midnight movies as well, but I wanted to make family movies that would entertain parents and their children, give them both something to look forward to congregating together and smiling together  I think that’s one of the better ways I can apply myself as an actor.  So it made sense to me that if I could do a character that relied on magic and not bullets, I could entertain the family. “
 

V.   Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
 
 
Tagline: As Johnny Blaze hides out in Eastern Europe, he is called upon to stop the devil, who is trying to take human form

Salary: $7,500,000

Nic's Explanation: 

Ever since I was a child, I gravitated towards the monsters, be it The Hulk or Ghost Rider. I couldn’t understand the complexity of something that looked that scary but also was in some way “good”. To me that already gave it a level of depth that seemed to be missing in some of the other characters. For someone who was interested in becoming an actor, that made sense that I would gravitate towards that. I’m very happy with the way this worked out. This was the character that Marvel and I teamed up on...

...When I read the script, I thought,Oh, boy. Here we go. This is it. Really, man? I'm really going to be peeing fire in a movie? Am I really going to have the guts to go on record with that? And then I said, "Well, it's a Neveldine and Taylor movie and I have to be a part of the club." And I just did it
 

http://collider.com/nicolas-cage-ghost-rider-2-spirit-of-vengeance-interview/134993/

http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/14/nicolas-cage-ghost-rider_n_1276535.html

In this instance Cage even took a pay cut for the film to be made.
 
"He decided to make this personal sacrifice for his craft, despite the personal hardship it may bring"
 
according to ScrapTV.

http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Entertainment/pages-8/Nicolas-Cage-takes-pay-cut-to-ensure-Ghost-Rider-2-gets-made-Scrape-TV-The-World-on-your-side.html 


VI.   Trespass

Imdb tagline: As they're held for ransom, a husband and wife's predicament grows more dire amid the discovery of betrayal and deception.

Salary: $7,000,000

   Nic's Explanation:
 
"Voice is one of the tools of film acting, at any chance I can get to play with it, I’m gonna jump on it. I wanted Kyle Miller to be somebody that would, in your mind, be the last person that could rise against this untenable situation that he finds himself and his family in. You wouldn’t expect him to defend himself and his family, so I wanted to play with that. One of the things I said to Joel Schumacher when I agreed to do the movie was that I’d like to play him with a stutter as well, we talked about it as, but as we begun principal photography he kind of talked me out of that, and I take his point, it probably works better without it. But then again we might be wearing tuxedo’s later this year if he had a stutter (laughs).
   ...I wanted to show someone who speaks in a way, that might be fragile, could still surprise you, could still be tough, could still take unexpected chances and risks. The other way I wanted to confirm that idea was that I added a little line where I said to Ben Mendelsohn‘s character, ‘I’m worth more dead than alive.’ What that means is that he’s not afraid to die, and if you can take me out, maybe I can solve all this for my family, because I am worth more dead than alive. So that was another way to demonstrate that he was not afraid. I like counter-point, I think of acting as music – any kind of new sound with the voice, any kind of surprise I can give you, any counter-point I can give you, to keep you guessing, is what I’m gonna go for."
 

http://www.flicksandbits.com/2011/09/15/nicolas-cage-interview-for-trespass/15921/


And in case you were wondering about his often cited changing hair, he has an explanation for that too:
 
VIII. Nic's Hair Explanation
 

"It’s amazing because sometimes people think I’m wearing a wig when I’m not wearing a wig and then sometimes they think I’m not wearing a wig when I am wearing a wig. You’d have to go through it carefully to pick which one is which. For example, Drive Angry I’m not wearing a wig. Behman and Sorcerer’s Apprentice I was wearing a wig. Even in Deadfall, if you look at that sequence, I even put a nose attachment on so the nose went out and then up, when I’m saying, “Vive la France,” that dialogue I was improvising.

... I don’t wear wigs in my own life or in public so I have no use for them. I did keep the look on Drive Angry because I had dyed my hair blonde and I didn’t have any time to dye it back before the next movie which was Trespass. Once I got back from my press tour for Sorcerer’swhere I had the Drive Angry blonde hair, I went back to my normal color."
 

http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/14/nicolas-cage-ghost-rider_n_1276535.html

All salaries are according to: 
http://pro.imdb.com/name/nm0000115/personal#salary

 

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