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Here's Why Nicolas Cage Moved Away From Making Blockbusters

From the mid-90s through the end of the '00s, Nicolas Cage was one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, leading blockbusters like the "National Treasure" movies and his action trifecta of "The Rock," "Con Air," and "Face/Off." But over the course of the past decade, since 2011's ill-fated superhero sequel "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," Cage hasn't had a lead role in a studio blockbuster. Instead, he's starred in smaller movies — some of which are forgettable direct-to-VOD thrillers like "A Score to Settle" and "Pay the Ghost," while others are acclaimed indie films that take artistic risks and allow Cage to experiment with his intentionally excessive "Nouveau Shamanic" acting style, like "Mandy" and "Mom and Dad."

Part of why Cage stopped appearing in blockbusters surely had to do with declining box office receipts and changing moviegoer preferences (Cage's decline tracks neatly with Marvel Studios' ascent), but it was also a choice he actively made. He revealed as much in a recent interview promoting his new movie "Pig," an indie drama that shows he's still capable of the kind of subtlety that won him an Oscar for "Leaving Las Vegas."

Nicolas Cage doesn't want to go back to Hollywood

Speaking with Variety, Nicolas Cage explained that he moved away from making blockbusters because he enjoys the freedom to experiment that indie movies provide him. Cage likes to try scenes his own way, and he simply couldn't do that when working on movies like "Gone in 60 Seconds."

"When I was making Jerry Bruckheimer movies back-to-back, that was just a high-pressure game. There were a lot of fun moments, but at the same time, there was also, 'We wrote this line. It has to be said this way.' They'd put a camera on you and photograph you, and order you: 'Now say the roller skate training wheels line.' I'd say, 'I'll do that but I'd also like to try it this way,'" Cage said. "On independent movies, you have more freedom to experiment and be fluid. There's less pressure and there's more oxygen in the room."

Cage also told Variety that he has no interest in returning to the world of blockbusters. In that way, Cage relates to his character in "Pig," a celebrity chef who walks away from his career in order to live a life of solitude with his pet pig. "I do feel that I've gone into my own wilderness and that I've left the small town that is Hollywood," Cage said. "I don't know if I'd want to go back. I don't know if I'd want to go and make another Disney movie. It would be terrifying. It's a whole different climate. There's a lot of fear there."

It makes sense that he's not attracted to that style of filmmaking any longer. One thing you can never say about Nicolas Cage is that he's constrained by fear.