Nicolas Cage has revealed that he turned down roles in Lord of the Rings (which of course was filmed in New Zealand) and The Matrix (which was filmed in Australia) so he wouldn’t be far away from his son Weston, who would have been under ten at the time.
Cage almost turned down the part of “himself” in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent because it portrays him as a less-than-great father to his teenage daughter (played by Lily Sheen, daughter of Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen).
When asked by PEOPLE about the differences between the real him and the character he portrays in the movie, he responded; “First and foremost, there’s no version of Nic Cage in reality that doesn’t want to spend time with his children. There’s no version of Nic Cage that didn’t put family first over career. I turned down Lord of the Rings and I turned down Matrix because I didn’t want to go to New Zealand for three years or Australia for three years because I needed to be home with my son Weston, that’s a fact.”
He concluded; “So there is a huge disparity between that Nick Cage in Massive Talent and the Nic Cage sitting in front of you right now.” While it is relatively easy to imagine Nicolas Cage slotting into The Matrix, maybe as Agent Smith (played by Hugo Weaving), it’s an awful lot harder to imagine Nicolas Cage in Middle Earth. Maybe he would have had to take Weaving’s part again, as the ancient elf Elrond.
It is hard to imagine the different trajectory Cage’s career may have taken if he’d appeared in these two huge franchises at the turn of the century. It was an interesting period in his career, which featured diverse movies including Martin Scorsese’s Bringing out the Dead, Gone in 60 Seconds, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Spike Jonze’s Adaptation.
If you’re a fan of Cage movies such as Con Air, Face/Off and The Rock, check out our guide to the best action movies.