Nicolas Cage is an award-winning American actor, director and producer born on January 7, 1964 in Long Beach, California. His father, August Coppola (brother of award-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola), is a literature professor while his mother, Joy Vogelsang, is a dancer and choreographer. His parents divorced in 1976. He attended Beverly Hills High School but eventually dropped out to pursue a career in acting. He had his first acting debut in his school’s production of Golden Boy. In order to avoid accusations of nepotism, he changed his surname to Cage, in reference to the Marvel Comics character Luke Cage. He had his big screen debut in 1982, when he did a small role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, opposite Sean Penn.
Nicolas Cage received his fist Academy Award for Best Actor for his outstanding performance in the 1995 romantic drama film Leaving Las Vegas. In the movie, Cage played the suicidal alcoholic Ben Sanderson who falls in love with the hooker Sera, played by Elisabeth Shue. Cage further earned artistic recognition when he portrayed Charlie and Donald Kaufman in the 2002 comedy-drama satire Adaptation, in which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The film also stars Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Tilda Swinton, Ron Livingston and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Cage also starred in the 1996 widely acclaimed action film The Rock, alongside Seann Connery and Ed Harris. In the movie, Cage played FBI chemical weapons expert Dr. Stanley Goodspeed.
In 2004, after starring in a string of not-so-successful films, Cage starred in the adventure film National Treasure, playing the eccentric historian Benjamin Franklin Gates. The film also stars Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Christopher Plummer. He later reprised this role for the film’s sequel National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets released in 2007.
Half German, half Italian.
2000: Filed divorce papers in February, withdrew them in April.
October 1997: Ranked #40 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
Was engaged to Kristen Zang.
Nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire.
Got Johnny Depp his first acting job.
Close friend of Tom Waits, Crispin Glover and Rush drummer Neil Peart.
Stage name taken from comic book character Luke Cage.
Owns a Lamborghini that used to belong to Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi, the former Shah of Iran.
Brother of Marc Coppola and Christopher Coppola.
Grandson of Carmine Coppola.
Proposed to Patricia Arquette on the day he met her in the early 1980s. Arquette thought he was a bit strange but played along with his antics by creating a list of things Cage would have to fulfill to win her. When he started to work his way through the list, Arquette got scared and avoided him. They met again many years later and later went on to marry.
1997: He lived in a fake castle on the outskirts Los Angeles. He wants to import an authentic one from overseas.
Loves to improvise, ocassionally to the annoyance of other cast members.
Collects comic books and sees them as being today's equivalent of mythology.
The Wild at Heart (1990) movie poster lists his name as both "Nicolas Cage" and "Nicholas Cage".
Ranked #37 in Premiere's 100 most powerful people in Hollywood in 1998.
1984: Listed as one of 12 "Promising New Actors of 1984" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 36.
Suffers from vertigo.
Tim Burton cast Cage in his doomed Superman project. Cage even did fittings of the costume.
On his upper back he has a tattoo of monitor lizard with a top hat.
2001: Announced that he is dating Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the late Elvis Presley. They later married.
Cousin of Robert Schwartzman, who changed his name to Robert Schwartzman-Cage inspired by Nicolas.
May 2001: Awarded an Honory Doctorate in Fine Arts by California State University, Fullerton. He spoke at the commencement.
Father August Coppola, formerly a professor at Cal State Long Beach and Dean of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University
During an A&E Biography on him, the host explained that Cage was director Sam Raimi's first choice to play Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in the movie Spider-Man (2002). Apparently this was before he met Willem Dafoe.
Graduated UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Cousin of Sofia Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola.
On "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992), he told Jay that he took the name "Cage" from a comic book character named Luke Cage, the "first black superhero." This is not accurate; the first black superhero in mainstream comics was Marvel's Black Panther, introduced in 1966. Luke Cage, introduced in 1972, was also preceded by: Marvel's Falcon, introduced in 1969; the black western hero, Lobo, from Dell Comics in 1965 (the first black character to star in his own title); the title character of "Waku, Prince of the Bantu," an African chieftain, introduced as part of the Atlas Comics anthology title "Jungle Tales" in 1954. When asked which of the powers he would prefer to have, he said flight was his desire.
Has a son, Weston Cage (with actress Christina Fulton), born 26 December, 1990.
One of three actors (with Lee Marvin [Cat Ballou (1965)] and Peter Sellers [Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)]) with an Oscar nomination for playing multiple characters in a film (in Adaptation. (2002), he plays two characters, Donald and Charlie). Marvin is the only one who actually won one for a double role.
Former cousin, by marriage, of director Spike Jonze.
Met his future wife, Alice Kim Cage, at a sushi bar where she was a waitress. She was only 20-years-old at the time they married.
Went to the same high school as Angelina Jolie, Michael Klesic, Lenny Kravitz, David Schwimmer, Jonathan Silverman, Gina Gershon, Rhonda Fleming, Jackie Cooper, Rob Reiner, Antonio Sabato Jr., Pauly Shore, Michael Tolkin, Betty White, Corbin Bernsen, Elizabeth Daily, Albert Brooks and Crispin Glover.
Ate a real !$#!#roach in the film Vampire's Kiss (1988), it reportedly took three takes. He once said about the experience, "Every muscle in my body didn't want to do it, but I did it anyway."
Attended Justin-Siena High School in Napa, CA, during the early '80s.
His is (along with his cousin Sofia Coppola) the third generation of Oscar winners in the Coppola family. His uncle, Francis Ford Coppola and his grandfather, Carmine Coppola, are the other two generations. They are the second family to do so, the first family is the Hustons - Anjelica Huston, John Huston and Walter Huston.
Nick and his wife, Alice Kim Cage, had a son, Kal-el Coppola Cage, on October 3, 2005 in New York City. Just as Nick was named after a comic book character, "Luke Cage", so he has named his son after the comic book character "Kal-el" (aka Superman).
Trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Royce Gracie
Referred to as the "Jazz musician of acting" by David Lynch.
Former stepfather of Patricia Arquette's son Enzo
Former stepfather of Danielle Riley Keough.
July 2006: Bought Schloss Neidstein, a mini castle in the Bavarian village of Etzelwang.
After his first film role (in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)), he adopted the stage name of Cage, because he wanted to assure himself that any success he had was based on his own merits, not the fame of his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola.
Was a very close friend of late Johnny Ramone.
Big fan of Elvis Presley.
Considered "Blue" before settling on "Cage" as his surname.
His grandmother originates from Cochem/Mosel, Germany.
2006: He purchased a home on the former property of John Wayne in Newport Beach, CA, for a record-setting $24 million.
Said in a Reader's Digest interview that his wife, Alice, is into designing jewelry and has no interest whatsoever in being an actress.
Offered the role of Green Goblin/Norman Osborn in Spider-Man (2002).
Was originally considered for the role of Brad Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), but after his audition the studio thought his performance was too dark and the role went, instead, to Judge Reinhold. Additionally, Cage was 17 at the time and could not work as many hours as actors over 18. In this film, he is credited under the name Nicolas Coppola for the first and only time.
1999: Was among the guests at the wedding of Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola. Others were George Lucas, Jason Schwartzman, Bo Barrett, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Waits.
Auditioned for the role of Joel in Risky Business (1983), but the role eventually went to Tom Cruise.
He said he realized that all great movie stars, such as Spencer Tracy, had had recognizable voices, so he has stylized his to be distinctive.
Great-grandson of Francesco Pennino.
Owns a home in New Orleans.
Devoted Elvis Presley fan that he is, in Wild at Heart (1990) he performed the Elvis classic "Love Me" with uncanny aplomb.
Former son-in-law of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley.
2007: Bought Midford Castle (a big house, not a real castle) near Bath, England. Purchase price was in the region of ?5 million (about $10 million).
In 2006, he donated $2 million to Amnesty International for a fund to help child soldiers.
Owns homes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and New York City.
Owns the rights of the original The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) movie, for which he bought the rights from Ted Turner. He was going to use that as a new movie. Since Cage was busy with other projects, the movie didn't come to any fruition.
While making an appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" (1993) for the film Knowing (2009), he mentioned that he is fascinated with hang-gliding.
Is alumni for the children's theatre group MET2 along with Sofia Coppola, Adam Lambert, Matt McFarland, Kylie Tyndall, Keaton Tyndall, & Vivian Bayubay.
To be a good actor you have to be something like a criminal, to be willing to break the rules to strive for something new.
There's a fine line between the Method actor and the schizophrenic.
I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion.
[about his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley] I'm sad about this, but we shouldn't have been married in the first place.
Hollywood didn't know if I was an actor or a nut or if I was this crazy character I was playing. I had developed an image of being a little bit unusual, different and wild.
I'm at the point now where I know I'm doing something right when a movie gets mixed reviews, because then I'm not in the box. I don't want to make it too easy for people and I don't want to make it too easy for myself. I want to try something unusual. I feel good about the bad reviews because I feel like I've affected them on some level. They may not know what I was trying to do but they felt something
I want to make all kinds of movies. I do want to make big movies that are a lot of fun to go to, but I also want to make movies that are going to stimulate some thought and maybe raise some awareness. And so please don't think you're gonna go on a roller-coaster ride with those movies.
It's very risky for an actor who's a bankable star to make pictures like The Weather Man (2005) or Lord of War (2005) because they inevitably promote them like big studio releases. And they're not big studio movies, they're more edgy, thought-provoking, independent-spirited films. What happens is, it goes into the computer, and everyone says they can't open the movie because they thought it was X when it actually was Y.
I needed to change my name just to liberate myself and find out I could do it without walking into a Hollywood casting office with the name Coppola.
[Pablo Picasso] said art is a lie that tells the truth. What if you just want to tell the truth and not lie about it?
It's good to make movies that are tragedies, where people can think about things in life that are undeniable, that everyone has to deal with. But at the same time, it's also healing to make movies that are entertaining, that are a lot of fun, where you don't have to think about your problems.
When I did Vampire's Kiss (1988), I got so wound up. It was so important to me that this vision I had of Peter Lowe's character get on film exactly the way that I wanted it, that I frankly don't think I was very easy for anyone to live with. Certainly, I was not easy for myself to live with. I remember that I wasn't drinking or anything at the time. One night I felt so wound up that I was about to snap. I ordered a martini. And I just relaxed, and I could tell my body really needed a rest. From then on, I learned you can do good work without torturing yourself.
What happens is, you become different people in your path as an actor. When I was doing those things, I was a very new actor. I didn't have a lot of training, and I was trying to make some sort of impact, because that was what was important for me at the time - to get on the map. There were things I would do that were more shocking, or approaches I would do to try and live the character, because I didn't have the training. But then, as I went on, I started to find other methods, ways to get into characters that weren't exactly destroying my life. (On the wild eccentrics he used to get into character earlier in his career)
I remember when I met Johnny Depp, he was a guitar player from Florida, and he had no idea he could be an actor. I said, "I really think you are an actor, that you have that ability." That was just from playing one game of Monopoly with him. I sent him to my agent and he has gone on to carve out a successful career.
There is a method of thought that says it's better to stay mysterious, make yourself an event so when you come out, people have a hunger to see you again. I can think of some superstars who adopt that principle, where they are very selective. But we are all going to get older, and there is something to be said about doing some of your best work when you are younger, when you still have that virility, something visceral and raw. I've heard there have been some actors who've regretted not doing more work when they were under fifty. (On why he works so much)
[on making his character in Knowing (2009) a single father] I have seen a lot of movies with single mothers and their children. They're good, but there are not so many with capable single fathers. There seems to be this archetype that if you're a man and single, you're incapable of raising a child, which I think needs to be broken. If you find yourself in that position - like I have - it's important not to give up because of what people tell you.
[on Face/Off (1997)] Without tooting my own horn - I think it's a masterpiece.