Twenty years ago, Nicolas Cage was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. He seemed a little embarrassed about the fact. When he was at the Berlin Film Festival with thriller 8mm (1999), directed by Joel Schumacher, a journalist pointed out that several entire European films could be made for the $20m fees that he was receiving for his films such as The Rock and Con Air. “Whatever the market rate is the market rate,” Cage mumbled in response. Schumacher, meanwhile, pointed out that Cage was only getting what he deserved. “Nobody in Hollywood is paying that kind of salary for nothing. If their relatives could do what we do, they [the studio executives] would hire them instead.”
By then, Cage had an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas (1995). He was one of the few stars who could move seamlessly between huge-budget, high-concept blockbusters, and quirky independent pictures. He did it all: action, comedy, romance, and drama.
No performance was the same. “You never know where he’s going. You know, certain actors, you watch them and you know their mannerisms. You know what they’re going to give you. With Nic, you never know what’s going to happen, you know, how he’s going to take a scene, what he’s going to do with a scene, what he does with a character,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer told Collider in a 2007 interview.
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