Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nicholas Cage: Good Guy

Once upon a time, you'd never picture Nicholas Cage as an action-hero. An oddball character actor best known for schizoid laid-back-guy-crazy-insane-guy rollercoaster performances, actually being a Coppola and a public love-affair with comic book collecting; it was considered a slick move of casting against-type to have him as co-lead of "The Rock" and a brilliant joke-within-a-joke to have in a Van Damme role in the has-to-be-a-spoof "Con-Air." But, wouldn't you know it, he had real chops for the material and his offbeat persona suited the increasingly surreal modern action genre just fine.

This Friday, Mr. Cage - who's devotion to his living role as Hollywood's premier leading-man comic book geek is so strong that he named himself after "Power Man" and christened his firstborn son "Kal-El" - realizes his long ambition of embodying a superhero in Mark Steven Johnson's pleaseletitbegood film "Ghost Rider." Cage has been doing the P.R. rounds for the flick, including this one over at which turned into, of all things, an impromptu impassiond rant from Cage in which he rises to the defense of the Comic Book Movie and - be still my beating heart! - kicks the ever-living HELL out of "Entertainment Weekly."

Here's a sample of Cage, just warming-up:
"Somebody asked me a question about "Do you think comic book movies get a bad rap?" And someone mentioned to me that there was a blurb in Entertainment Weekly -- very condescendingly -- "We get a kick out of watching Academy Award winners being in movies they have no business being seen in." And I thought, "Well, that's really shallow thinking, because they can't get outside their own box." They don't understand the concept of what I would say is art. You have different styles and you can choose to be photo realistic like "World Trade Center" or you can be pop art illustrative."

How long have I waited to hear this out of an industry A-lister? And it got better:
"It doesn't take itself too seriously, of course, it's funny, but it's coming from Classic themes like Faust with Gerta or Thomas Mann or then "Beauty and the Beast" and it's fascinating to take those story structures and reintroduce people to it in a pop art, contemporary manner. In a comic book especially, no less, which is fun and reaches a lot of people. Entertainment Weekly is the kind of magazine that is very condescending and they think in a very narrow box and they always have."

And my personal favorite, after the SHH! interviewer asks Cage his opinions on the scarcity of scifi/fantasy genre films getting the nod around awards season:
"They deserve to, but the problem is you have people like Entertainment Weekly who don't want to take the beret off their head and stop being so self important and pretentious about the little art film, which I love to, but open your mind."

And, in summary:
"But Entertainment Weekly is more like a tabloid. So, if you are going to get a tabloid get the National Inquirer, because at least they have a horoscope. Why the extra dollar getting Entertainment Weekly when you can get a horoscope with the National Inquirer? (Laughs.)"

Nicholas Cage: Actor, action-star, defender of the artistic credibility of the Superhero Movie. I always suspected that he was one of the good guys, this proves it.