How Nicolas Cage Changed His Career Trajectory in One Film

by Madison Miller

If there’s one thing we know about Nicolas Cage it’s the fact that he is easily one of the most unique characters in Hollywood today.

His career has gone through countless makeovers over the years from action-packed roles to more obscene character roles. For example, countless people probably remember him from his time in the “National Treasure” franchise.

The very eccentric actor actually started out by doing a cameo role as a friend to Brad Hamilton in the coming-of-age movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” He’s been able to go from a cameo role to showcasing his acting flexibility in different dramatic and event comedic roles. Many of his earlier movies were actually directed by his well-known uncle, Francis Ford Coppola.

Eventually, he would go on to snatch an Oscar and Golden Globe for best actor in “Leaving Las Vegas.” He played an alcoholic screenwriter, Ben Sanderson, going through a very rough time. In the 1990s, Cage was defined by action blockbuster movies like “Con Air,” “Face/Off,” “Snake Eyes,” “8mm,” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Action moves became his defining hat trick. That seemed to all happen thanks to “The Rock.”

Action-Packed Movie Roles

No, we’re not talking about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Rather, it’s a Michael Bay 1996 thriller that really seems to be the movie that set him off in this direction. He plays chemical weapons nerd Stanley Goodspeed. A rogue general of the United States Marine Corps (Ed Harris) steals chemical weapons. He then decides to threaten to launch them at the civilian population within San Francisco. Stan gets paired with a team of Navy SEALS as well as an old prison inmate to stop him. The inmate is actually a former British spy played by Sean Connery.

Connery’s character is the only person who has ever escaped from Alcatraz Island. His knowledge will come in handy, seeing as Hummel has hostages here.

Like most Michael Bay movies, “The Rock” is filled with edge-of-your-seat action and loud moments that force you to turn the volume down on your TV. Suddenly, Nicolas Cage unleashed a floodgate of action roles. That includes “World Trade Center,” “Lord of War, “Windtalkers,” “Season of the Witch,” “Ghost Rider,” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Nicolas Cage Extreme Roles

Since then, Cage has even more eccentric moments on the screen.

These are the kind of roles that Cage completely unleashes in an unhinged, curse-laden kind of way. In the movie “The Wicker Man” from 2006, Cage is a cop investigating a pagan cult. He ends up putting on a bear suit and punching a lady. In “Mandy” from 2018 Cage is a lumberjack going through an act of drug-fueled vengeance.

Perhaps his most “out there” role was in “Face/Off” in 1997 where he does so many outlandish things I’m not sure how to even recap. Cage switches faces and identities, dances crazily and even sings the “Hallelujah” chorus.

In “Vampire’s Kiss” Cage’s character gets bit by a vampire and slowly loses his mind (no one is better than playing a character slowly losing their mind). He then believes he will turn into a vampire. Instead, he just puts on plastic vampire teeth and sprints through the streets.

Perhaps he’ll have similar energy when he plays Dracula in the upcoming movie “Renfield.”