Nicolas Cage in Left Behind

Nicolas Cage is a worker. Sometimes I wonder if him and Samuel L. Jackson have a bet on which one of them can appear in the most movies in a year. Of course there’s nothing wrong with liking to work. Sometimes working at that rate just means a filmography becomes more about quantity than quality, which has been the case with Cage’s career over the past few years. Don’t bother worrying about the actor, though, because Nicolas Cage has no regrets. The only regret might be never working with director Quentin Tarantino — but will a Nicolas Cage Quentin Tarantino collaboration ever happen?

In Newsweek’s revealing interview with Cage, the actor was asked about some of the films he’s turned down over the years — such as, The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings.

I don’t really have any regrets. I think regret is a waste of time. I try to always move forward as opposed to dwelling on the past or the movies that might have happened. There certainly were movies that I probably would have benefited from if circumstances in my life allowed me to make them.

Cage went on to say he can enjoy those movies as an audience member, which is certainly a plus when it comes to turning those roles down. It’s probably easy for an actor to lose some sleep over the wildly successful blockbusters they’ve rejected, but it sounds like Cage has a much more healthy and easygoing approach to his choices.

As for the less-than-stellar films the actor has signed up for — the movies responsible for turning Cage into something of a Tumblr star — he doesn’t quite know what to make of the Internet’s love for all things Cage.

I don’t really know how to assess it. It’s sort of completely out of my reference point for anything that, at least before the Internet, has happened in my career. I don’t even know how to process it. So I try not to think too much about it.

How can one not spend too much time thinking about The Wicker Man? Maybe Cage puts his time to better use than most people, but acclaimed playwright Neil LaBute‘s remake of the horror classic will forever live in our minds. In case you’re still wondering, yes, LaBute and Cage know how funny it is to see the actor in a bear suit punching Ellen Burstyn.

It’s a phenomenon for sure. I’m not entirely sure the movie deserved that much attention, good or bad. It’s an ironic experience for people. I don’t think people are aware—or some of the people anyway—are aware the movie was designed to be a bit of a black comedy. There was some irony involved in the portrayals. There seems to be a need by many of the folks on the Internet to think that [director] Neil LaBute and myself were completely clueless as to that fact, which was not the case.

LaBute is one of the many great storytellers Cage has worked with. Sadly, the movie they made together wasn’t their best work. When asked what other directors Cage hopes to work with one day, his answer wasn’t exactly surprising:

I would love to work with Paul Thomas Anderson. I think that he’s one of the greats. And he’s certainly a true artist. Quentin Tarantino and I, the two of us could really do something quite special. But I remain positive and hopeful that it will eventually happen.

I know. It’s hard to believe an actor would want to work with Quentin Tarantino, or Paul Thomas Anderson, for that matter. Cage still turns in some great performances every now and then, so it’s not like he’s in need of a total career resurgence, but seeing Tarantino play with Cage’s image sure would be something. Hopefully soon the actor will be able to cross Tarantino and Anderson off his wish list.

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