Nicolas Cage is in talks to star in his first studio movie since 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, but it took a special project to convince him to take a break from the string of forgettable indies with one-word titles that he’s been stuck doing for the better part of the decade. Cage is nearing a deal to play none other than Nicolas Cage(!) in Lionsgate’s meta drama The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Collider has confirmed.
Tom Gormican is attached to direct from a wacky screenplay that he co-wrote with Kevin Etten. If a deal makes, Cage would produce via his Saturn Films banner along with Mike Nilon and Kevin Turen, the latter of whom produced Waves and serves as an executive producer on HBO’s Euphoria.
Lionsgate beat out Paramount and HBO Max for the strangely hot project, which follows actor ‘Nicolas Cage,’ who is trying to get a role in a new Tarantino movie while navigating a strained relationship with his teenage daughter. He’s also under a mountain of debt, and as such, is forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire who also happens to be a ruthless drug kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a local politician. Naturally, the CIA recruits Cage to get involved and assume the role of action hero once again.
The script also calls for Cage to talk to an egotistical 1990s version of himself who’s critical of his recent career choices, with references to Cage classics such as Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off and Gone in 60 Seconds. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, and describes the script as a cross between Adaptation, the Hollywood caper Get Shorty, and the meta movie JCVD, which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme as a fictional version of himself. It certainly doubles as a love letter to Cage, who has a good sense of humor about himself and decided to trust the filmmakers and sign on to the project — but only for the kind of paycheck that rivals the Oscar-winning actor’s standard fee from his ’90s heyday.
Oddly enough, the screenplay was written on a lark as a sample, as Gormican and Etten hoped it would open new doors for them within the industry. They previously created the short-lived Fox series Ghosted, while Gormican directed the romantic comedy That Awkward Moment starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller. 3 Arts represents Gormican and Etten, who are also repped by WME and UTA, respectively. Cage is repped by WME, Stride Management.
I’ll take a risky oddity like this project over generic non-theatrical movies like Dark, Arsenal, Inconceivable, Rage, Outcast and Primal.