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The Honest Reason Nicolas Cage Doesn’t Like To Be Called An Actor

Nicolas Cage in Pig
(Image credit: Neon)

Over the course of his career, Nicolas Cage has become one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors. The Academy Award-winning star has turned in some great performances, whether it be for his comedic work as H.I. McDunnough in Raising Arizona or his wild turn as Castor Troy in his and John Travolta’s Face/Off. With such a diverse array of work, most would agree that Cage is a very accomplished actor. Though he might actually take issue with the term “actor,” if you were to refer to him as such. And he has an honest reason as to why he prefers not to be called one. 

Don’t misunderstand the 57-year-old performer, as he’s proud of what he does. However, he recently explained that he doesn’t like the word “actor” because he believes it comes with a certain connotation. He thinks the undertone associated with the word could make him come off as less than genuine in his craft: 

For me it always implies, ‘Oh, he’s a great actor, therefore he’s a great liar.’ So with the risk of sounding like a pretentious asshole, I like the word ‘thespian’ because thespian means you’re going into your heart, or you’re going into your imagination, or your memories or your dreams, and you’re bringing something back to communicate with the audience.

Nicolas Cage’s comments on Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast  may come off as somewhat surprising but, upon further thought, they do make sense. The idea of “acting,” on the surface, does seem to imply some level of deceit on the part of the person who’s doing it. Though it’s far from certain, this could be the reason why some performers refer to themselves as artists instead. I have to say, I like the term thespian, and Cage’s summation of the word is perfect. Most can probably also agree that all of things certainly relate to the Con Air alum. 

With all of the work he’s put in over the past several decades, one would think that the star would be ready to hang things up. However, that’s far from the case as, earlier this year, he shot down the notion of retirement. He stated that cinema has been like a “guardian angel” for him and that he needs it. He even went on to say that he’s “healthier” when he’s working. Though it’s good to know that we can expect more from him in the years to come, it’s even better to hear that the work isn’t taxing on him mentally. 

And he’s still churning out a wide array of material. 2021, for example, saw the release of his B-movie horror Willy’s Wonderland, which allowed him to channel his love of reptiles. He also headlined the critically acclaimed Pig, which is currently earning him plenty of awards buzz. This year will see the release of his newest film, The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, in which he plays a fictionalized version of himself. Based on the trailer, it’s sure to be a wild and NSFW adventure but, who knows, it could also deconstruct the public’s notion of what an “actor” really is. 

You can check out Nicolas Cage’s Pig by streaming it on Hulu, and you can check out The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent when it opens in theaters on April 22, 2022.

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.