Why Nicolas Cage Turned Down Roles In The Matrix And Lord Of The Rings

Nicolas Cage is getting candid in this post-"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" world, and it's leading to some wild revelations. He admitted earlier this year that he tried to pitch his way into "The Godfather: Part III," and now he's waxing poetic about other films that could have been brightened with a dash of Cage. Call it a vibe shift, call it a renaissance, but there's something wild happening with Cage's career, and I'm so glad we're all here along for the ride together. I'll meet you at the photo stand after it's over and we can all get overpriced copies of our ride pictures.

The Cage revelations are coming straight from the hallowed halls of People, where the actor went a bit on the defensive about his characterization as a deadbeat dad in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," a movie in which he plays an exaggerated version of himself. In the film, Cage is down on his luck and leaking cash, so he agrees to show up to a weird gig where he'll be paid $1 million to appear at the birthday party of his biggest fan, who also happens to be a billionaire cartel boss. Despite the films wild antics all around, Cage wanted to set at least one thing straight. He told People:

"First and foremost ... there's no version of Nic Cage in reality that doesn't want to spend time with his children. There's no version of Nic Cage that didn't put family first over career. I turned down 'Lord of the Rings' and I turned down 'Matrix' because I didn't want to go to New Zealand for three years or Australia for three years because I needed to be home with my son Weston, that's a fact."

Is this a dad joke?

Excuse me? "Lord of the Rings" and "The Matrix"? Is there an alternate dimension where Nicolas Cage did both those movies and became one of the biggest action/fantasy heroes of all time? Do you think he still did "Mandy" and "Pig" and "Color Out of Space" in this alternate dimension? Because if not, then I don't want it. And it sounds like Cage doesn't really regret those decisions, either. Of course, he didn't just turn down low-key blink-and-you'll-miss-them roles; Cage turned down playing Aragorn in "Lord of the Rings" and Neo in "The Matrix," both of which became career-defining roles for the actors who ended up playing them (Viggo Mortensen and Keanu Reeves, respectively).

Still, there's something delightful about Cage's total lack of regret. As he reiterates in his People interview: "There is a huge disparity between that Nick Cage in 'Massive Talent' and the Nic Cage sitting in front of you right now." One Cage is willing to crash a cartel party for a cool mil, and the real Cage is skipping out on big budget action/fantasy films to kick it with his kids. It's heartwarming, it's funny, and it sounds exactly like something Cage would do.

"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" barrel rolls into theaters April 22, 2022.