Over the weekend it was revealed that many moons ago, Nicolas Cage was approached to take a trip to Middle-Earth for the role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s safe to say that had he accepted the offer, the Fellowship would have been very different and weirdly the idea seems awfully inviting. Of course, that never came to pass, but let’s not look back on the thumbs Nicolas Cage gave to roles, and rather give a thumbs up to the ones he did.
Courtesy of Mike Sales from Midland Movies, here’s some of the best Cage performances. Some commendable, some crazy and for the most part all wielding some very questionable hairstyles. Read on and see if your favourite made the cut below.
10. Adaptation (2002)
Cage plays two roles in this meta-project from the warped mind of Charlie Kaufman which covers the director’s own struggles in adapting The Orchid Thief for the cinema. Covering depression and writer’s block, Cage’s role as both brothers allows him to experiment with his own duality with his dark and brooding choices conflicting with his blockbuster sensibilities of the brother. An Academy Award nod saw Cage with the best critical reception in years and a testament to his acting ability when given the right material.
9. Lord of War (2005)
Andrew Nichol directs Cage as a Ukrainian-American arms dealer in this drama and dissection of war, conflict and weaponry. Tracing the story over many years across a global backdrop, Cage is great as the morally ambiguous gunrunner and the slightly heavy handed message is neatly wrapped up in a performance that shows both a family man, his criminality and the ultimate if inevitable end game of human destruction.
8. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, Cage’s most lauded role is as an alcoholic heading to the big city in order to drink himself to death. Cage embodies the carnage as a trail of broken dreams and his own broken body are the focus of a dark and disturbing film. With great support from Elizabeth Shue who balances the extremes of Cage’s performance, the film is a superb study of the dangers of addiction, but you may struggle to sit through multiple viewings given its power and Cage’s haunting embodiment.
7. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
Werner Herzog re-imagines Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film and Cage challenges the previous incarnation as the craziest copper in town with this police-crime drama. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Cage’s policeman spins out of control in a haze of drugs, corruption and lizard hallucinations. A solid tale of bribery, contraband and conflict, Cage’s experience with substance abusive characters is again showcased in this addictive film set in the Big Easy.
6. Kick-Ass (2010)
Very much a supporting role in Matthew Vaughan’s violent take on comic book superheroes, Cage excels as the father to Hit-Girl in this subversive 2010 flick. Channelling every ounce of Adam West’s 1960s Batman (from the obvious bat-suit similarities to the pauses and strange ticks), Cage shows a quirky restraint but also a much needed adult focal point to the adolescent action throughout. With added moustache, he breathes eccentric life into an eccentric character helping to balance out the group of have a go heroes.