Nicolas Cage Explains Why He Doesn't Like to Be Called an 'Actor,' Prefers 'Thespian'

The 57-year-old entertainer explained his position during a recent interview on Variety’s 'Awards Circuit Podcast,' saying he prefers the label "thespian."

Nicolas Cage attends the GQ Men of the Year Celebration
Image via Getty/Rodin Eckenroth
Nicolas Cage attends the GQ Men of the Year Celebration

Don’t call Nicolas Cage an “actor.”

During a recent episode of Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast, the Oscar-winner explained his aversion to the title and why he prefers an admittedly more pretentious label.

“I really don’t like the word ‘actor.’ For me it always implies, ‘Oh, he’s a great actor, therefore he’s a great liar,’” Cage told the hosts around the 16:35 mark. “With the risk of sounding like a pretentious a-hole, I like the word ‘thespian’ because to me thespian means you’re going into your heart, or you’re going into your imagination, or your memories or your dreams, and you’re bringing something back to communicate with the audience.”

Cage, who recently starred in the critically acclaimed film Pig, goes on to compare his acting approach to shamanism.

“What early shamans would do is go into flights of imagination to find answers to help their village,” he continued. “I like looking at it like that, with the risk of sounding completely absurd and ridiculous. I like the idea of it being something a little more organic and less artificial.”

You can check out the full episode below.

Cage will also star in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, an upcoming comedy in which he plays a fictionalized version of his thespian self. The film co-stars Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, and Neil Patrick Harris, and is scheduled to hit theaters April 22, 2022.

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