The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent Is The 'Scariest Thing' Nicolas Cage Has Ever Done

Nicolas Cage is feeling the unbearable weight of his own massive talent — or maybe that's just the weight of him playing himself in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." Cage has had his ups and downs over his career, especially in the 21st century as he has grown more prolific in his output and his self-proclaimed "Nouveau Shamanic" acting style has blossomed. In 2019 alone, Cage appeared in six movies, five of them direct-to-video, and that's not even counting the documentary he narrated.

Cage cited last year's "Pig" as one of his three favorite performances that he's ever given, and in fact, that film topped our own list of the 20 best Nicolas Cage movies. So while he may not have always earned the best reviews for his VOD outings, Cage is still capable of pushing his boundaries and delivering career-best work. At the time of its release in 2021, "Pig" was the best-reviewed live-action movie of his career, but "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" has now unseated it on the Rotten Tomatoes ranking of his filmography.

In a recent interview with Collider, Cage pegged "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" as one for the record books for another reason:

"This was the most terrifying thing I've ever done in my entire body of work. I think I've done some of the best work in the last 10 years of my entire life and I put Massive Talent in that period, which has been, in some ways, marginalized by certain folks in the media. But I think I'll put Pig and Massive Talent and Mandy and Color Out Of Space and Bad Lieutenant and Joe and The Trust and The Runner up against anything I did in the first 30 years. But in all that time, in the 43 years I've been doing it, Massive Talent is hands down the scariest thing I've ever done."

'He absolutely never, ever does anything but his best'

"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" sees Cage playing a fictionalized or "stylized" version of himself who is debt-ridden and who becomes a CIA informant after a billionaire mega-fan and drug lord, played by "The Mandalorian" star Pedro Pascal, invites him to make a paid birthday party appearance. It's a meta concept that harkens back to when Cage played screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin brother in Spike Jonze's "Adaptation."

Some of the roles Cage has taken on may have been driven partially by a need to pay the bills, since he at one point owed millions of dollars in back taxes to the IRS. Reports of a lavish lifestyle, with private islands, castles, and even a dinosaur skull were offset by his lawsuit against a former business manager for causing him "financial ruin." However, as Cage himself recently pointed out in a GQ cover story, he "never phoned it in" with his performances, even when it might have seemed like he was slumming it.

This is something that director Guillermo del Toro concurred with when he recently tweeted, "He absolutely never, ever does anything but his best — I've said it before: there has not been, nor will there ever be an actor like Nicolas Cage. A master."

Cage may have said he will never see "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" because it's "just too much of a whacked-out trip" for him to go to a theater and watch him play himself. But for everyone else who might (rightly) consider that a good time, the movie is in theaters on Friday, April 22, 2022.