Skip to main content

Nicolas Cage is arguably one of Hollywood’s most prolific actors. Despite his lack of recent blockbuster films, the 58-year-old is still appearing in films such as Grand Isle and Between Worlds

Over the years, Cage has reinvented himself several times. He went from doing love stories like Peggy Sue Got Married and Moonstruck to action-packed blockbusters like Face Off and Con Air. When he first started out in Hollywood, Cage even lied about his age to land an acting gig.

Nicolas Cage lied about his age for a role

Fast Times At Ridgemont High was a coming-of-age teen stoner movie released in 1982. Cage originally auditioned for a lead role that eventually went to Judge Reinhold, who portrayed the character Brad.

Due to the explicit scenes in the movie, casting directors were only looking for 18-year-olds at the time. As Huff Post reports, a 17-year-old Cage passed himself off as 18 and auditioned for the part 10 or 11 times. In the end, the casting directors caught on and relegated him to the role of Brad’s friend.

Since Cage was underage, he couldn’t put in the hours required for that role so he was given a smaller role instead. It did work out in the end for him, however, as he went on to enjoy a long and successful career throughout the ’90s and 2000s with hits like Raising Arizona.

Nicolas Cage’s notable performances

Actor Nicolas Cage appears on the ABC tv series 'The Best of Times' pilot episode
Nicolas Cage in the pilot episode of ABC series The Best of Times | Bob D’Amico /American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

One of Cage’s most notable roles was in Leaving Las Vegas, which earned him an Oscar. The 1996 film was based on John O’Brien’s novel, which follows alcoholic screenwriter Ben Sanderson, played by Cage, as he drinks himself to death in Las Vegas. Sanderson meets Sera, a prostitute played by Elisabeth Shue, and the pair form a bond.

The film franchise that has pulled in the most dollars at the box office has been the National Treasure franchise. National Treasure: Book of Secrets earned a whopping $219.96 million at the box office in 2007. Unfortunately, this also marked a turning point for Cage’s finances.

Nicolas Cage falls on hard times


Nicolas Cage Calls His Young Self ‘An Obnoxious, Irreverent, Arrogant Madman’

At one time, Forbes listed Cage as one of the highest-paid actors of all time. However, in 2009, all of this came crashing down. Thanks to some lavish spending habits, Cage found himself with a $6.2 million dollar tax lien imposed by the IRS and lost most of his fortune.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent star blamed his money manager at the time. But some of his lavish purchases certainly played a part as well. 

For example, Cage spent $300,000 on a 67-million-year-old Tarbosaurus skull. He reportedly owned up to 30 motorcycles and 50 cars. His car collection included nine Rolls Royces and a $1 million Ferrari Enzo so rare that only 349 were produced. He even owned two albino cobras that he claimed were for protection. 

These days, Cage is making his return to Hollywood. Though he never quit working, he certainly hasn’t been pulling in the box office dollars like he once did. However, he is slowly making his way back to the big leagues with films like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a movie in which he plays a satirical version of himself. 

His character in the film, Nick Cage, is a down-and-out actor looking for his big comeback. He finds himself working with the CIA to take down an arms dealer. As you can imagine, the premise of the film is unusual, but that is exactly up Cage’s alley. Unusual is a word that beautifully sums up not only the man but the path he has taken in his career as well.