Over the weekend, the upcoming film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent received a sneak peak at the South by Southwest film festival. The film stars Nicolas Cage as, well, Nicolas Cage. Specifically, it stars a fictionalized version of himself who agrees to appear at a wealthy fan’s birthday party for $1 million, and the situation quickly spirals out of control and requires him to channel many of his previous roles.
According to Cage, who was talking to viewers at the film’s sneak peak, playing himself was a massive undertaking, though he knew he had to do it specifically because it was massive. “It was a high wire, it was terrifying,” he said at the premier. “No muscle in my body told me to play any version of myself in a movie. And because it scared the crap out of me, I knew I had to do it.”
Cage was originally concerned that the film would play out like a parody, and that he was being roped into making fun of himself, but he was brought around by a letter from the film’s director, Tom Gormican.
nicolas cage in a role he was born to play. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT – in theaters everywhere april 22! pic.twitter.com/zt77bi5Z0C
— Lionsgate @ SXSW (@Lionsgate) March 9, 2022
“In that letter it became clear to me that he was looking more towards a genuine interest in some of the earlier work and a celebration of that, with the elements of whatever pathos I’ve been through that people have or have not read about,” said Cage.
“And so I said, ‘OK, I think maybe there’s something here.’ On top of which I have a mantra of sorts, which is that the very thing you’re afraid of is probably – most likely as long as (it’s) within reason (and) doesn’t hurt yourself or someone else – that’s the very thing you should go towards, because you’re probably going to learn something.”
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent will premier in theaters on April 22, 2022.