Nicolas Cage gets personal with The New York Times Magazine for an extensive interview, touching on everything from his most memorable roles to convincing Johnny Depp to become an actor to why he paid $276,000 for a dinosaur skull.
At one point in the profile, Cage discusses a period in his life in which he took a deep dive into mythology, which led him on a literal quest for the Holy Grail.
“I started following mythology, and I was finding properties that aligned with that. It was almost like ‘National Treasure’,” he explains.
“One thing would lead to another,” the 55-year-old actor continues. “It’s like when you build a library. You read a book, and in it there’s a reference to another book, and then you buy that book, and then you attach the references. For me it was all about where was the grail? Was it here? Was it there? Is it at Glastonbury? Does it exist?”
Cage points to a well in Glastonbury where the water tastes like blood “because there’s a lot of iron in the water. But legend had it that in that place was a grail chalice. But that led to talk that people had come to Rhode Island, and they were looking for something.”
When the interviewer asks if that’s the reason why Cage purchased property in Rhode Island, he replies, “I don’t know if I’m going to say that’s why I bought the Rhode Island property. But I will say that is why I went to Rhode Island, and I happened to find the place beautiful. But yes, this had put me on a search around different areas, mostly in England, but also some places in the States. What I ultimately found is: What is the grail but Earth itself?”
Cage also gets candid about his financial difficulties, and he addresses rumours that he’s been taking on as many movies as he can in order to rebuild from his losses.
“I can’t go into specifics or percentages or ratios, but yeah, money is a factor,” he says of his recent spate of movie roles. “I’m going to be completely direct about that. There’s no reason not to be. There are times when it’s more of a factor than not… But yes, it’s no secret that mistakes have been made in my past that I’ve had to try to correct. Financial mistakes happened with the real estate implosion that occurred, in which the lion’s share of everything I had earned was pretty much eradicated.”
“But one thing I wasn’t going to do was file for bankruptcy,” adds Cage. “I had this pride thing where I wanted to work my way through anything, which was both good and bad. Not all the movies have been blue chip, but I’ve kept getting closer to my instrument. And maybe there’s been more supply than demand, but on the other hand, I’m a better man when I’m working. I have structure. I have a place to go. I don’t want to sit around and drink mai tais and Dom Perignon and have mistakes in my personal life. I want to be on set. I want to be performing. In any other business, hard work is something to behold. Why not in film performance?”
You can read the interview in its entirety in The New York Times Magazine.