CATEGORIES Interviews
"I'm able to express myself in the abstract and people are willing to go along for the ride, and I don't have to resort to shooting people."

Hitman, magician, treasure hunter, motorcycling superhero whose skull ignites into flames ... It's all in a year's work for Nicolas Cage, one of Hollywood's hardest working actors. Need proof? The Oscar winner has appeared in eight major releases in the past three years (among them the aforementioned 'Bangkok Dangerous,' 'Next,' 'National Treasure 2' and 'Ghost Rider') -- and has six more slated for 2009 alone.

The first in Cage's '09 sextet is the sci-fi-slanted disaster movie 'Knowing,' in which he adds "MIT astrophysicist" to his pretend CV. Cage's John Koestler begins to believe he's meant to save the world when he comes into possession of a cryptic scroll of numbers decoded to reveal dates for every major disaster on Earth in a 50-year span, concluding with doomsday. We picked Cage's brain about the appeal of mass destruction on the big screen, what he'd do different, knowing what he does now -- and if the guy ever sleeps.


Hitman, magician, treasure hunter, motorcycling superhero whose skull ignites into flames ... It's all in a year's work for Nicolas Cage, one of Hollywood's hardest working actors. Need proof? The Oscar winner has appeared in eight major releases in the past three years (among them the aforementioned 'Bangkok Dangerous,' 'Next,' 'National Treasure 2' and 'Ghost Rider') -- and has six more slated for 2009 alone.

The first in Cage's '09 sextet is the sci-fi-slanted disaster movie 'Knowing,' in which he adds "MIT astrophysicist" to his pretend CV. Cage's John Koestler begins to believe he's meant to save the world when he comes into possession of a cryptic scroll of numbers decoded to reveal dates for every major disaster on Earth in a 50-year span, concluding with doomsday. We picked Cage's brain about the appeal of mass destruction on the big screen, what he'd do different, knowing what he does now -- and if the guy ever sleeps. -- By Kevin Polowy

1. What separates John from other characters you've played in the past?

Mostly that it was a chance for me to play a part in a movie that had a happy marriage between the role of single father -- which I've been wanting to play for a long time -- and the landscape of science fiction -- which has become more and more interesting to me as a form of entertainment, in that I'm able to express myself in the abstract and people are willing to go along for the ride, and I don't have to resort to shooting people.

2. What do you think is the allure of the disaster movie?

I can only guess that we all ask those questions. What would we do in those circumstances? Would you rather do this, or would you rather do that? And because of that, going to the movies and seeing what is a primal fear come to life is exciting, is stimulating. But it's stimulating in a way that, in the case of 'Knowing,' operates on another level because it has a pretty spiritual center to the movie. So it separates it from perhaps other apocalyptic films and hopefully garners some debate.



3. Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would've done differently with your career?

I don't really have any regrets, but you know I started so young, I started at 15, and it's been 30 years. I didn't have the benefit of the wisdom or the understanding that I have now from being in the business for 30 years, so maybe I would have not rushed into things as much as I had ... I had to publicly go through my growing process and I had to publically make mistakes, that sort of thing ... When you work in the public forum, those mistakes can be quite embarrassing.

4. If you had to make a prophecy, what would you say will be different about Hollywood and the movie industry in 50 years?

I have this feeling that things are going to become more creative because there are these economic concerns going on and whenever there are economic concerns people are forced to be more creative about how they get around building something, whatever that may be. The best example of that is an old German expressionist movie called 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,' where they didn't have any money for the location so they built these cardboard sets that became what was so fascinating about the film. Or when somebody suddenly becomes a writer like Anthony Burgess to pay the medical bills, he writes 'A Clockwork Orange,' or even J.K. Rowling. I think those kinds of things will stimulate creativity.

5. It seems like you just go from one movie to the next. Do you ever rest?

Well, I just had a couple weeks off, but you're right, I have been going from one movie to the next, and I'll probably keep going from one movie to the next, for a little while ... I know that my youngest son is gonna right around the corner be going to school and at that point I'm going to have to work less. I think I'm working now before that happens.

Nicolas Cage Photos

    In this film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment, Nicolas Cage, left, and Rose Byrne are shown in a scene from "Knowing." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Vince Valitutti) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    In this film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment, Nicolas Cage is shown in a scene from "Knowing." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Vince Valitutti) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    In this film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment, Nicolas Cage, right, and Rose Byrne are shown in a scene from "Knowing." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Vince Valitutti) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    Actor Nicolas Cage (right) and wife Alice Kim Cage attends the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. "Knowing" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals AMC Loews Lincoln Square New York, NY United States March 9, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (56940508), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Actor Nicolas Cage (right) and wife Alice Kim Cage attends the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. "Knowing" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals AMC Loews Lincoln Square New York, NY United States March 9, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (56940503), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    Actor Nicolas Cage attends the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. "Knowing" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals AMC Loews Lincoln Square New York, NY United States March 9, 2009 Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage.com To license this image (56940456), contact WireImage.com

    Jim Spellman/WireImage.com

    NEW YORK - MARCH 09: Actors Rose Byrne (L) and Nicolas Cage attend the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rose Byrne;Nicolas Cage

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - MARCH 09: (L to R) Actors Rose Byrne, Nicolas Cage, and Alice Kim attend the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rose Byrne;Nicolas Cage;Alice Kim

    Getty Images

    Nicolas Cage attends the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. "Knowing" New York Premiere AMC Loews Lincoln Square New York, NY United States March 9, 2009 Photo by Soul Brother/FilmMagic.com To license this image (56939238), contact FilmMagic.com

    Soul Brother/FilmMagic.com

    Alice Kim and Nicolas Cage attends the premiere of "Knowing" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on March 9, 2009 in New York City. "Knowing" New York Premiere AMC Loews Lincoln Square New York, NY United States March 9, 2009 Photo by Soul Brother/FilmMagic.com To license this image (56939171), contact FilmMagic.com

    Soul Brother/FilmMagic.com