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Nicolas Cage’s best friends are a cat called Merlin and a crow who swears at him

In a wide-ranging interview with the LA Times, Nicolas Cage said that his best friends are a cat and a cursing crow

Nicolas Cage in Con Air

Nicolas Cage was speaking to the LA Times about a range of topics, including being “marginalised by the studio system,” being trepidatious about playing himself in a comedy movie and caring for his best friend, a Maine Coon cat named Merlin.

Cage begins the interview by reminiscing about working in a cinema when he was 15; “I would just stand in the back of the theatre and dream. How am I going to go from here, to there [the cinema screen]? That was the meditation.”

Cage’s career has had many, many different stages. He started off working with ‘cool’ directors such as Amy Heckerling, Martha Coolidge, the Coens and David Lynch. And there were critically-acclaimed directors such as Alan Parker, Norman Jewison and the person Cage refers to as ‘Uncle’ – Francis Ford Coppola.

Then there was the Oscar win for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995, swiftly followed by big-budget hits The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off. Cage’s last successful blockbusters were probably the two National Treasure movies (the last of which was in 2007). Cage says; “I had a couple of flops in a row, so I was no longer invited.”

The last 15 or so years of Cage’s career has been filled with an eclectic mix, but mostly what used to be referred to as ‘direct-to-video’ fare. In recent years, he has appeared in a few horror movies that have been a hit with critics, if not necessarily breaking box office records – such as Mandy and Color Out of Space.

He appeared recentlu in independent drama Pig and his performance has drawn much positive attention, including talk of awards. Cage says he accepted the role because of one line in the script; “We don’t get a lot of things to really care about.”

As for playing himself in theUnbearable Weight of Massive Talent? “I was very trepidatious to do it because I’m playing two heightened versions of myself,” Cage says. “But then I realised, everything that’s happened to me led up to this movie, whether I was hot or cold, up or down, there’s an arc to the story.”

Cage tells the interviewer about his menagerie of animals (which does not include bees), including his cat, Merlin, a Maine Coon, that he more than once calls his “best friend.” He has two other animals, a cat named Teegra, who apparently doesn’t “give a sh*t” that he rates second to Merlin and a crow called Hoogan. “He has taken to calling me names… it’s comical, at least, it is to me. When I leave the room, he’ll say, ‘Bye,’ and then go, ‘Ass.’ Crows are very intelligent. And I like their appearance, the Edgar Allan Poe aspect. I like the goth element. I am a goth.”

Check out our guide to the best rom-coms, to find out if Nicolas Cage’s Moonstruck made the cut.