Date of Birth: January 7, 1964
Place of Birth: Long Beach, Calif, USA
Sign: Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Scorpio
Relations: Wife: Patricia Arquette; kid: Weston (with former girlfriend Christina Fulton); uncle:Francis Ford Coppola (filmmaker)
Education: Passed the GED and left Beverly Hills High School a year early; studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater
NICOLAS CAGE IS an actor who can transform himself from awkward Everyman, to virtuous hero, to psychotic bad guy, to sensitive action hero… and back again. Cage is undoubtedly one of this era's most versatile working actors.
Born in 1964 to a choreographer and a literature professor, Nicolas Kim Coppola grew up the youngest of three sons in suburban Los Angeles. Because his mother, Joy, suffered from severe depression and was frequently hospitalized, the children were primarily raised by their father. August Coppola, who also retained custody when the couple divorced in 1976, instilled in his children a love of fine art, literature and film.
The future Cage discovered acting in fourth grade – not because he was cast in a school play, but because he was getting bullied on the school bus. Sick of being picked on, the story goes, young Coppola slicked his hair back, borrowed his brother's jeans and cowboy boots, donned sunglasses and confronted his bully, introducing himself as "Roy," Nic's cousin. "Roy" told the bully that if he didn't lay off Nic, he'd beat the crap out of him. End of problem.
Summers found the Coppola boys traveling to San Francisco to visit their uncle Francis Ford Coppola and his children. A troublemaker from the beginning, one legend has it that Nic blew up a blender; another, that he lit a firecracker in a cousin's room. "He was always fun to be around," recalls his cousin, Sofia.
After watching East of Eden the year he turned fifteen, Nicolas enrolled in a summer program at San Francisco's prestigious American Conservatory Theater. He began to realize that he wasn't cut out to be an intellectual like his father, but because he idolized August, this caused him no small amount of concern. After completing the 11th grade (and a bit of soul searching), Nic took the G.E.D. and decided to get on with his acting career. He made an inauspicious debut on the ill-fated television show The Best of Times, followed by a small role in the cult classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Eager to be judged on his own merits, and not as "the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola," the budding actor decided to change his professional name. He dug through his collection of Marvel Comics until he came across a suitable moniker: Nicolas Cage. The name "Cage" comes from Luke Cage, the alter-ego of superhero Powerman.
The newly-named youngster re-launched his career – ironically – with a role in his famous uncle's Rumble Fish, the first performance for which he garnered any sort of attention. Most of the attention Cage received in his early years was for his off-screen antics including, trashing his trailer during the filming of Cotton Club, supposedly having his teeth pulled without anesthetic during Birdy (an urban myth), and eating a live cockroach for Vampire's Kiss, a stunt he says he would be loathe to repeat.
With 1987's Moonstruck, Cage began a new stage of his career: typecast as the "thinking woman's romantic," he took roles in Zandalee and Wild at Heart. Then he became a "Capra-esque good guy," with Guarding Tess and It Could Happen to You.
Cage and Arquette divide their time between numerous homes: a downtown Los Angeles penthouse, a country home outside of LA, a Victorian mansion in San Francisco and a German-style castle in the Hollywood Hills. The couple have two sons from previous relationships (one his, one hers). An avid sports car collector, Cage works out twice a day (so as to look good in all his many, many fine clothes), and writes poetry and stories.
2000 Gone in 60 Seconds
2000 Mr. Hughes
1999 Bringing Out the Dead
1998 City of Angels
1998 Snake Eyes
1997 Con Air
1996 The Rock
1995 Kiss of Death
1995 Leaving Las Vegas
1994 Trapped in Paradise
1994 Guarding Tess
1994 It Could Happen to You
1994 A Century of Cinema
1993 Amos & Andrew
1992 Red Rock West
1992 Honeymoon in Vegas
1990 Industrial Symphony No. 1
1990 Wild at Heart
1989 Tempo di Uccidere (Time to Kill)
1989 Vampire's Kiss
1987 Raising Arizona
1986 Peggy Sue Got Married
1986 The Boy in Blue
1984 Racing With the Moon
1984 The Cotton Club
1983 Valley Girl
1983 Rumble Fish
1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)