Nicolas Cage has become one of the most prolific actors of all time – but there is a dark reason behind it.
The American star of Renfield has appeared in some truly fantastic films over the years. He won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995, and became a the face of blockbuster movies with pictures such as The Rock, Face/Off, National Treasure and Ghost Rider.
But during the early 2010s, he found himself in financial ruin. He previously told 60 Minutes that the crash of the property market left him destitute.
He said: “I was over-invested in real estate. It wasn’t because I spent $80 on an octopus. The real estate market crashed, and I couldn’t get out in time.”
As a result, he leaned into his work. And between 2009 and 2015, Cage starred in just over 24 films.
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Cage explained how he moved to Las Vegas for tax benefits and began releasing several movies a year to repay his enormous debts.
He described the situation as extremely “dark” but always felt joy in bringing characters to life on the big screen.
“No doubt, work was always my guardian angel,” he said. “It may not have been blue chip, but it was still work … Even if the movie ultimately is crummy, they know I’m not phoning it in, that I care every time.”
Some of Cage’s films were branded truly awful, including Outcast, Left Behind, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Trespass – all of which have Rotten Tomatoes review scores of less than 20 percent.
At times, he became frustrated with how the industry was treating him: “It was like: ‘What do you mean we’re not doing National Treasure 3? It’s been 14 years. Why not?’”
Things got worse and worse for him, as well: “I’ve got all these creditors and the IRS and I’m spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mother out of a mental institution, and I can’t … It was just all happening at once.”
However, Cage’s joy was found in becoming a truly valued member of the acting fraternity. “When I was doing four movies a year, back to back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all.”
He also praised some of these “crummy” movies after they turned out to be massive hits.
The 59-year-old recently called cult hits Mandy and Pig some of his favourite films he has ever been involved with.
On his debts, he concluded: “I paid them all back, but it was about $6 million.”