The decade's most triggering comedy
In what can only be described as a Hail Mary comeback move after over a decade of flops and straight-to-video B-movies, actor Nicholas Cage’s next project is just absolutely bonkers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning actor’s next movie, titled “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” will be a story so meta that not even Deadpool could dream it up. Beating out HBO Max and Paramount, Lionsgate has entered into final negotiations to acquire the film, which will involve Cage playing himself as he gets embroiled in all sorts of crazy antics that includes getting a role in the next Quentin Tarantino movie, talking to past versions of himself, and fighting Mexican drug cartels after being recruited by the CIA. Here’s how THR describes it:
If the deals close, Cage would star as actor Nicolas Cage. The character is desperate to get a role in a new Quentin Tarantino movie while also dealing with a strained relationship with his teenage daughter. He also occasionally talks to an egotistical 1990s version of himself who rides him for making too many crappy movies and for not being a star anymore.
The Cage character is also under a mountain of debt and finds himself forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire who happens to be a fan of the actor’s work and secretly hopes to show him a script on which he’s been working.
While he bonds with the man, Cage is informed by the CIA that the billionaire is actually a drug cartel kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a Mexican presidential nominee and Cage is subsequently recruited by the U.S. government to get intelligence. The situation spirals even more dramatically when the billionaire brings over Cage’s daughter and his ex-wife for a reconciliation, and when their lives are on the line, Cage takes on the role of a lifetime.
Screenwriters Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten said they intended the film as a love letter to Nicholas Cage’s work and will reference several of his hit films, including “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Face/Off,” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
Though undeniably crazy in its description, the “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is hardly the first film to employ meta on such a high-profile talent– a trend that arguably began with Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard.” In 1993, Arnold Schwarzenegger went a similar route with “Last Action Hero,” which was followed by “Being John Malkovich” in 1999 and 2002’s “Adaptation,” which, ironically, also starred Nicholas Cage. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme got in on the trend as well with 2008’s “JCVD.”
Cage’s career as a bankable A-list star took a nose-dive a little over a decade ago when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said the actor failed to pay $6.2 million in federal income tax in 2007 as well as another $350,000 in unpaid taxes between 2002 and 2004. In response, Cage filed a $20 million lawsuit against his business manager, Samuel J. Levin, for failing to “pay taxes when they were due” and for placing him in “speculative and risky real estate investments resulting in (the actor) suffering catastrophic losses.”
Filing a counter-suit, Samuel Levin said that Cage overspent money beyond his means and against advice.
‘Instead of listening to Levin, cross-defendant [Cage] spent most of his free time shopping for high ticket purchases, and wound up with 15 personal residences,’ Levin’s complaint said. ‘Likewise, Levin advised [Cage] against buying a Gulfstream jet, against buying and owning a flotilla of yachts, against buying and owning a squadron of Rolls Royces, against buying millions of dollars in jewelry and art.’
As a result of his crippling debt, Cage was forced to accept movie roles “left and right” to pay it off, which is why the actor’s name appeared in titles like, “Left Behind,” “Vengeance: A Love Story,” and “Pay the Ghost.”
Despite the slump, the Academy Award winner has still managed to scoop up a few good ones, such as his roles in “Kick-Ass” and “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.” At one point, he was even slated to play Ronald Reagan in the Reagan biopic before the role eventually went to actor Dennis Quaid.