Unraveling Nicolas Cage's Journey: From Internet Icon to 'Dream Scenario'

Unraveling Nicolas Cage's Journey: From Internet Icon to 'Dream Scenario'

The internet's impact on Nicolas Cage was overwhelming However, through his new project 'Dream Scenario,' the acclaimed movie star is channeling and transforming this experience into something extraordinary

Nicolas Cage did not embrace the meme lifestyle; rather, it embraced him.

Being an Oscar-winning actor known for his extravagant performances and prolific career, Cage is well-informed about the online posts circulating about him. He has come across the compilation video titled "Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit" and other internet remnants that have contributed to his transformation into a meme. Cage, who is currently 59 years old, does not harbor anger but rather exhibits curiosity towards this phenomenon.

"I believe I may have been the initial actor to encounter such a phenomenon," he expressed in a recent video interview with CNN. "It began to rapidly escalate and accumulate, with no means for me to impede its progression."

"This wasn't my intended motive for entering the film industry," Cage uttered, slightly melancholic.

Many of us, including myself, have made the mistake of quickly accepting and misjudging the eccentric behavior of Nicolas Cage. When his "Renfield" co-star Nicholas Hoult stated in an interview that Cage based his portrayal of Dracula on Anne Bancroft in "The Graduate," my headline was immediately set in stone.

There is an undeniable humor in how seriously Cage approaches his craft. It's especially amusing when we see him playing a delusional literary agent running through New York screaming, "I'm a vampire, I'm a vampire!" in "Vampires Kiss" from 1988, or when he famously shouts "Not the bees!" while being tormented by a cult in "The Wicker Man" from 2006. And of course, any moment he channels John Travolta in the timeless action film "Face/Off" from 1997. However, our perception of Nicolas Cage as not being a serious actor is solely our own doing. The internet has narrowed our viewpoint of him and reduced him to his most absurd moments. We often forget that he has showcased his talents in serious roles, such as "Raising Arizona," "Adaptation.," "Bringing out the Dead," "Wild at Heart," his Oscar-winning performance in "Leaving Las Vegas," "Moonstruck," and many more.

Recently, there has been a resurgence in the evaluation of Cage's work. "Pig" (2021) marked a shift in his portrayal as a tormented chef, while "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" (2020) showcased his comedic portrayal of an exaggerated version of himself, grappling with his own fame.

Now, "Dream Scenario" offers a unique blend of both Cage the renowned figure haunted by his own notoriety and Cage the self-proclaimed actor.

Unraveling Nicolas Cage's Journey: From Internet Icon to 'Dream Scenario'

Paul Williams (Nicolas Cage), the academic who the world can't stop dreaming about, in Kristoffer Borgli's "Dream Scenario."

Courtesy of A24, Kristoffer Borgli crafts a satirical story of Paul, an ordinary academic, who one morning discovers that his existence has become the subject of people's dreams. From family and friends to students and strangers, the public starts to make the connection and realizes that Paul is indeed real. Embracing his newfound celebrity, Paul dives into the spotlight, giving interviews and entertaining offers from advertising agencies to be their face. However, Paul's true aspiration lies in finding a publisher for his book about ants. Yet, as everyone's dreams about Paul take a twist, so does his fortune in real life, as he is held accountable for his actions in the dream world.

Cage and I are currently engaged in a conversation over Zoom. Surprisingly, the internet has the ability to present the actor in an unfiltered and unmemed manner. He is quite talkative and honest, eagerly discussing what he considers to be "one of the best" performances of his career. He mentions that during this particular performance, he felt less like he was acting and more like he was being himself. Additionally, when reflecting on "Pig," another favored project within his extensive body of work, he felt a strong emotional connection. In "Dream Scenario," he found that he could utilize his own life experiences.

He acknowledges that prior to his own newfound viral fame, he was not well-acquainted with the capabilities of the internet. He briefly mentions T-shirts and Photoshopping, but does not delve into further detail. The idea of his performances being remixed solely for the purpose of garnering attention would not have been on Cage's list of career aspirations when he began pursuing his initial credits in the early 1980s. However, once a work is in the public domain, one cannot dictate how it is interpreted. Coming to terms with this lack of control is a separate matter altogether.

Cage reflected, "Upon reading this script, I could relate to Paul's emotions and grasp his perspective. I plan to channel those sentiments into portraying this character."

Paul's entry into this world is marked by a lack of readiness, yet his excessive self-confidence convinces him that he possesses the ability to control the uncontrollable force of his fame.

"Fame is something that everyone can experience now, both positive and negative," Cage mused, and "we all know that it can go in many different directions."

Unraveling Nicolas Cage's Journey: From Internet Icon to 'Dream Scenario'

Cage as a reclusive chef devoted to his porcine friend in "Pig" (2021).

Courtsey NEON


Nicolas Cage ("Nick Cage") contemplates his career in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" (2022).

"The emotions run deep," he remarked, drawing a parallel to his previous experiences with gambling (the actor asserts he has quit). "It's as if you're soaring high with elation after a victory. However, when luck takes a turn and you face defeat, that sentiment of loss becomes even more profound than the joy of winning. I believe you can witness glimpses of this truth in Dream Scenario... There's a certain authenticity in this film."

The film hilariously satirizes both fleeting celebrity and cancel culture, evoking laughter and discomfort simultaneously. Paul's mishaps in his romantic affair and encounter with his academic rival are cringe-worthy, brilliantly portrayed by Cage. However, as Paul becomes an outcast, the plot takes a turn towards a 70s paranoid thriller, while still maintaining its original tone. Reluctant to engage in the culture wars, Paul receives advice to embrace his notoriety by following "the Jordan Peterson route." Surprisingly, there is another well-hidden path to fame that Paul had previously ignored.

Given its critique of cancel culture and the subsequent backlash, does the film risk being embraced by those it satirizes?

"I can't really provide a definitive answer to that question. I didn't perceive it in the same perspective," Cage expressed. Later on, he added, "The audience will ultimately interpret and determine the film as they wish. Their reception is subjective, and there is no right or wrong. It's all up to them."

Cage emphasized to me that although there are similarities between his life and Paul's, the film does not belong to him, but rather to Borglis, the writer-director. He stated that Borglis was primarily interested in bringing the ideas of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, particularly the concept of the collective unconscious, to life. "Our minds are now interconnected at an incredibly fast pace through various means, such as the phones and computers we all carry, making it a new form of reality," the actor shared regarding this manifestation facilitated by technology.


Nicolas Cage and Julianne Nicholson as husband and wife thrown into disarray with his newfound fame in "Dream Scenario."

Provided by A24, despite the films conclusion failing to provide solace for those in search of or trying to evade their 15 minutes of fame, Cage can at least find solace in his exceptional performance. With a remarkable repertoire of over 100 screen credits, he has never attempted anything quite like this previously.

"I am endeavoring to incorporate my personal touch into the decisions I make in the realm of filmmaking," he expressed. "I firmly believe that by infusing a personal touch, it fosters a deeper connection with the audience."

"The most memorable instances I've had at the cinema were when I could empathize with the character and feel as though I was privy to the intimate emotions and experiences they were going through, be it James Dean in East of Eden or anyone else," Cage reminisced. "It was an exclusive bond, a unique form of communication between the on-screen performance and the spectator."

Adding Pig and Dream Scenario to his repertoire, Cage expressed his satisfaction in providing the audience with a concealed connection. With his tendency for numerous ongoing projects, it remains uncertain as to which, if any, will meet the same level of excellence. The whereabouts of the next instance where that clandestine bond will be established are unknown. However, one thing is clear: it will certainly not be accomplished through a mere meme.

"Dream Scenario" is released in the UK and on limited release in the US on November 10, before going nationwide on November 22.