Kevin Etten said his affinity for Nicolas Cage stretched back to when he was a child.
“My mom loved the movie ‘Moonstruck,'” recalls Etten. “I remember seeing this when I was young and I remember his performance in it and how electrifying and fun and real it was, and then into my teenage years when ‘The Rock’ came out…that movie, still to this day , if it’s on, I won’t turn it off. Really, he has such a wide range of work. He’s done all kinds of genres.
Then one day, Tom Gormican suggested the concept for The Unbearable Weight to his collaborator. “When we were talking about that idea, Tom had sparked it by saying, ‘What about Nic Cage playing Nick Cage?'” Etten recalled. “I said yes right away because not only did I love his films so much, but I loved him as an artist, as a guy who makes his own way in his own way and doesn’t care what anybody thinks.”
In The Unbearable Weight, Cage has different roles – Nick Cage, the actor, and Nicky Cage, the obnoxious younger version of himself – an idea rooted in one of Gormican’s favorites.
“There are two performances that Nic gives that I keep coming back to that I really love, and they are indicative of the kind of characters we had him play in this film. It’s ‘Raising Arizona’ and ‘Adaptation,'” revealed Gormican. “In ‘Raising Arizona’ it’s this big, broad comedic performance that you get emotionally drawn into, and in ‘Adaptation’ you have him playing two different characters, which is what we do in this film. There are two characters in this film, but it’s split and that was a big influence on us. That performance is really nuanced and detailed and very small and natural and real, and I thought these are two very different versions of Nic Cage that we’re trying to channel into ‘Born Weight’.”
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is in theaters now.