Rock of Hollywood
He may be 51 but veteran actor Nicolas Cage still matters in movieland
It's not easy being Nicolas Cage.
On one hand, the 51-year-old US actor has done some impressive work on The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off and the National Treasure franchise.
On the other, Cage has also drawn flak for some of his movies, like 2007's Ghost Rider, which was a critical flop but still made US$228.7 million (S$325.5m) at the global box office.
His career trajectory could have gone in a very different direction, what with his recent revelation to Newsweek magazine that he turned down big roles such as Aragorn in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and a part in The Matrix, but has no regrets.
"I try to always move forward as opposed to dwelling on the past or the movies that might have happened," he said. "There certainly were movies that I probably would have benefited from if circumstances in my life had allowed me to make them."
Cage's latest offering is supernatural thriller Pay The Ghost, which opens here tomorrow.
He plays Mike, who loses his only son at a Halloween parade and must find him by unravelling an old Celtic legend.
While some argue that Cage is past his prime, we think he still deserves some credit for lasting this long in Hollywood, where others have crashed and burned.
Here's why he still matters - and why he's cooler than his reputation would seem.
#1: HE'S AN OSCAR WINNER
People may lampoon his acting, but let's not forget he won a Best Actor Academy Award - among other accolades - for 1995's Leaving Las Vegas.With trophies in hand, it's no wonder he doesn't mind critics calling his style "overacting".
"It hasn't always been met with appreciation, but that is the beauty of the challenge: you have to stick to your beliefs," he told online magazine The Talks. "I can be quiet and cinéma vérité and get more into the minutia of a performance, but I can also do an operatic, larger than life, jazz-acting sort of thing."
#2: HE'S A BIG COMIC BOOK GEEK
Not only did Cage name his 10-year-old son Kal-El after Superman, he was also tipped to star as the Man of Steel himself in a Tim Burton-directed film that never materialised, as studio Warner Bros reportedly did not trust its creative team to deliver.Pictures of Cage in costume for 1997's Superman Lives recently emerged online, leading many to compliment how apt he looked for the role.
Cage has also starred in comic book adaptations like Kick-Ass and Ghost Rider, and sold his comic book collection for a record US$2.1m at a 2011 auction.
#3: HE'S A WORKHORSE
You can call Cage many things, but he definitely isn't lazy.
At least he's still in demand, having starred in over 75 movies since he began his career in 1981, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014, he was at his busiest, with a whopping four titles released each year.
Cage told Time magazine he has no regrets about any of his output, good or bad.
"They're all my children. Whether they worked or didn't work, I grew by taking risks and dealing with critical backlash."
He told Yahoo! Movies: "I know that there seems to be this opinion that I only do movies for the pay cheque, which is completely false. It's a matter of fact that I'm not going to make a movie if I don't think I can do something with the part."
Cage was drawn to Pay The Ghost for two reasons.
He told Entertainment Weekly magazine: "The first was the emotional horror of every parent's worst nightmare - losing your child.
"And then to roll from that to the idea of having to access another dimension to pull one's son back from the supernatural realm. I had not really seen those two elements together before, and that's why I wanted to make the movie."
And of course, there's the Halloween factor.
"I think it's impossible for any actor not to love Halloween. It's the only real holiday where you get to dress up and change yourself, which is what actors love to do."