Nicolas Cage Defends His VOD Film Era: ‘I Did Some of the Best Work of My Life in That Period’

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Nicolas Cage has had enough of the press taking shots at him for his era of straight-to-VOD movies. The Oscar winner had a string of theatrical flops around 2014, including duds such as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” and so his career pivoted almost exclusively to VOD titles like “The Runner,” “Pay the Ghost,” “The Trust” and more. Anyone who claimed Cage didn’t care about his career during this era was dead wrong.

“People thought I didn’t care. I did. I was caring,” Cage recently told Rolling Stone. “I think that I did some of the best work of my life in that so-called ‘direct to video’ period. ‘Massive Talent’ was in that group. ‘Mandy’ was in that group. ‘Pig,’ ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans,’ ‘Joe,’ ‘Mom and Dad,’ ‘Color Out of Space’ — they were all in that group. ‘The Runner’ I thought was terrific. I’ll put any of those movies up [against] the first 30 years. If there is a misconception, it’s perhaps overlooking that there was a genuine commitment to performance.”

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Cage went on to call acting in VOD movies “the best workshop, the best acting class I could have,” adding, “I think it really was practice. I felt it made it so much easier for me to access my emotional content or my imagination. It was at my fingertips because of the training and the constant work.”

“To answer your question, I think that would be a misconception in my view,” Cage said about people assuming he didn’t care about his VOD movies. “But then again, all art is subjective. People are open to their opinions and their interpretations. Whatever they want to take from it, they’re not wrong.”

The rise in Cage-starring VOD movies occurred as reports surfaced that he had blown his $150 million fortune and owed the IRS $6.3 million in property taxes. Cage told GQ magazine last month that he did take on so many VOD movies in order to get get out of debt, but he maintained that he still cared about every single role.

“When I was doing four movies a year, back to back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all,” Cage said. “They didn’t work, all of them. Some of them were terrific, like ‘Mandy,’ but some of them didn’t work. But I never phoned it in. So if there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring.”

GQ reported that Cage had officially “finished paying off all his debts” a year and a half ago after signing on to star in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” his new buddy comedy in which he stars as a fictionalized version of himself. “Massive Talent” opens in theaters April 22 from Lionsgate.

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