Nicolas Cage makes a lot of movies. Right now on IMDb he has three movies in post-production, two in pre-production, and two announced. Now, I’m not saying he makes a lot of good movies (I feel that distinction is important to make, right off the bat), but the guy works a LOT. So I guess it wouldn’t be surprising if you were walking around the Cannes film market last month, to hear people trying to sell about a half dozen or more Nic Cage movies. Unless, of course, you were part of Cage’s managerial team and knew for a fact that these projects were actually cheap knock-offs sold out of the film festival equivalent of a van in an alley. Look closer at those tags, potential distributors, this here is a “Nick Cege” movie.
Apparently some of the movies being shopped around are films that Cage has already turned down and is in no way associated with. But to up the chances of getting funding, the sales agents are still using his name, and Team Cage is not happy about it.
“It floods the market with product that’s not necessarily 100 percent real,” says Mike Nilon, Cage’s longtime manager. “If there are six or seven projects being talked about by any actor, then it dilutes the purchase price. If I came to you and said, ‘Would you like a steak dinner?’, you’d probably say yes. If I offered you eight, you’d probably say no.”
I find it both fascinating and completely sad to be reminded yet again that this is how movies get made. I know that when looking for funding, the role of a name, really any big name, no matter how many shitty movies he’s churned out, is often more important than the quality of a film. But as one of the producers who lost Cage from his project put it, “Everybody wants the same 12 to 15 guys. It’s a nightmare.” And suddenly I get a flash of the Hollywood Stock Exchange, and men in suits shouting into cell phones, buying and selling their Nic Cage stock. If there was ever a mental image that makes it hard to see film as a creative endeavor, it’s that one.
Still, Cage’s manager was totally wrong about one thing. I would absolutely say yes to eight steak dinners. So there.