Nicolas Cage Talks Acting and How He Finds Inspiration

“As an actor your greatest gift, or your greatest tool, is imagination.” – Nicolas Cage

There are many actors whose approach is perplexing, but nonetheless successful. Perhaps the most familiar of them all is Nicolas Cage, who may not always star in prestige films but is frequently noted for giving his all in his performances. For his new film Primal, which has gotten strong reviews, Cage spoke to Vanity Fair to talk about performing as his “inner Bogart” and relying on his dreams.

When it comes to acting, Cage suggests that if you’re going to borrow, you might as well borrow from the best. On his character, he says, “I was trying to channel my inner Bogart…I always go back to the well when I’m looking for inspiration. Not that I could ever be Bogart—he’s the greatest—but it’s always good to borrow from the best.”

Cage has many great roles to draw from, but perhaps one that he is best recognized for — and his second Academy Award nominated role — is Adaptation, and he had a similar situation in this film. He recalls, “As an actor your greatest gift, or your greatest tool, is imagination. I had to do that with Adaptation. I had to pretend like I was acting opposite my twin brother, and there was no twin brother. That was a great exercise. In this case I had to imagine that there was this 400-pound white jaguar. That comes easily to me.”

When it comes to performing, Cage reveals that his acting is mostly based on his own thoughts on what would fulfill him as an individual. He says, “I would imagine beautiful things that would make me happy, So it’s not hard for me to imagine I’m in a situation, and try to make it come to life and make it real for the audience. I’ve been doing it for so long—not in any kind of bragging way, but it’s something I feel comfortable with that I can access. I rely on my dreams—my daydreams, my nightmares…They come to me when I need them to, and I put them in my work.”

More: Nicolas Cage on Developing his Acting Style

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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