The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: Official trailer
Nic Cage paid homage to his own career in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent by playing Nick Cage, a fictional version of himself who had the same filmography as his real-life counterpart, but with a twist. When viewers met Nick Cage, they saw him at rock bottom, in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and without any direction.
While this was a powerful way to start Unbearable Weight, the film’s director Tom Gormican had to “fight” to keep this dreary beginning off the cutting room floor.
Gormican exclusively told Express.co.uk that, originally, the powers that be wanted to change the first act of the movie drastically.
“This movie only works if you actually see Nick as an actual human being,” he defended. “Down and out.”
Gormican added: “I was desperate, story-wise, to keep that in.”
Cage put in some real emotion during these pathetic moments; a performance other actors may not have been able to pull off.
And a year after the film was shot, Gormican was still visibly excited over how powerful Cage’s performances were while on the set of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
“He has an ability to lock in,” he revealed. “He’s an incredibly generous actor … he’s not like a method actor or anything, but he can be having a general conversation with you, and you roll cameras and he’s just dialled in.”
This is plainly evident when Cage plays “Nicky” – a younger version of himself based on one interview with Terry Wogan. The absurdity is even more palpable considering it isn’t satire at all, this ridiculous version of Nic Cage was real.
Gormican revealed that despite how confident Cage was in his performance of himself – both past and present – there was also a lot of apprehension in the beginning stages of the scriptwriting process.
Nic Cage stars in Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage played NICK Cage
When Cage first met Gormican to discuss the script he had written – a 90-minute journey of admiration for the star – he had one thing on his mind: “Are you making fun of me?”
Eventually, the director convinced the Oscar-winner that the film’s foundations were built on a genuine, sincere reverence for Cage and his work.
Gormican assured him: “The only person who needs [a comeback] more than you is me!”
And Gormican was true to his word. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent puts tongue fully in cheek while looking back at Cage’s life and times. References were made to some of his lesser-known movies (Mandy, Willy’s Wonderland, etc). Meanwhile, Cage became the butt of the joke in the film’s more eccentric moments. For example, he described a life-size wax figure of himself from Face/Off as “grotesque” before demanding to buy it for $20,000.
Gormican was careful not to get too close to reality, however. Cage’s real life is filled with a lot of people and events that could have been used as fodder to make Nick Cage’s fiction even wilder.
You only have to look at his five marriages to get a taste of his eccentricities. One of which was to Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of one of Cage’s idols, Elvis Presley. A marriage that ended after just 108 days.
Or perhaps when Cage bought a two-headed snake, ate live cockroaches for a movie (his idea), or his pyramid-shaped tomb in New Orleans.
But Gormican was adamant there needed to be some separation between the man and the myth.
Nicolas Cage discusses Lisa Marie Presley in 2003
Nicolas Cage teamed up with Pedro Pascal in the movie
“We toyed around with [bringing in people from Cage’s past],” Gormican recalled. “We thought… what happens if you introduce characters who are real [people]? And all the actors in the movie have not been in another movie with Nicolas Cage, by the way, which is hard to do!
“So, we thought about what breaks the reality. And I think, for Nic at that point [it was that].”
Gormican built a strong bond of trust (“Let’s call it a Trust Continuum”) with Cage over the production of Unbearable Weight, but it took some time for him to warm up to the relatively new Hollywood director.
“I’m not Spike Jones or The Coen Brothers,” Gormican said. “And Nic was very, very nervous of playing a version of himself and then putting it in my hands. We had a little bit of trust, but it grew across the project.”
Going forward, Gormican confessed real people from Cage’s life could be included in any potential sequel.
“If we were sitting here right now and we were making a sequel,” Gormican mused. “I think he would say, yeah I trust you and I could ask these people to be a part of the project.
“It would get very difficult and, I think, too real for him. So we were constantly trying to define the level of what was acceptable and what was real.”
Speaking of sequels, however. Is that something he and Cage are interested in?
Gormican confessed he “had an idea” for an Unbearable Weight sequel. But it is Cage who has already voiced where he would go with a reality-inspired sequel.
Cage told Gormican: “I would do the sequel… but I want to play Nicky the entire time. And Nic shows up!”
The director called it “appropriately nuts” before revealing the sad truth about what’s coming next.
“It’s not something that has been talked about,” he revealed.
Until then, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is on digital and on SteelBook, 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD now.