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This Actor Was The Inspiration Behind Nicolas Cage's Big Daddy Character

Over the weekend, Nicolas Cage bestowed upon us a glimpse into his singular psyche in the form of a Reddit AMA. Cage, normally a social media agnostic, offered a number of sincere, considered answers ranging from his thoughts on contemporary cinema to a boys-night-out tale featuring Charlie Sheen in pursuit of "square tube pasta" (other similarly Cage-style anecdotes abound).

The AMA arrives ahead of "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." Scheduled for wide release on April 22, the film is set to be Cage's most meta outing yet, with the actor playing a fictionalized version of himself and channeling his past roles in the process. As such, the AMA sees Cage in a particularly nostalgic mode, with the actor reflecting on his extensive and varied catalog of performances, whether it's "Pig," "Leaving Las Vegas," or "Bringing Out the Dead." One Cage acolyte, however, asked about a niche project in the actor's resume — 2010's darkly comic superhero film "Kick-Ass." Here's what Cage had to say about what classic superhero actor influenced his performance.

Cage channeled Batman's Adam West in Kick-Ass

Based on the comic of the same name, "Kick-Ass" follows the adventures of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), AKA Kick-Ass, a bumbling hero fresh to the superhero game. Cage stars as Big Daddy, an ersatz Batman figure and former cop who, with the help of his foul-mouthed 11-year-old daughter, is hellbent on bringing crime boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) to justice. 

In "Kick-Ass," Cage brings his Batman inspiration to the fore, channeling original Batman Adam West's wholesome, hyper-enunciated cadence. It's an acting choice that was not lost on Reddit user u/BennieWilliams, who took to the AMA to ask if any other influences informed Cage's performance. The actor, however, gives full credit to West: "I grew up watching him on the '60s Batman show and he is where it begins and where it ends as Big Daddy." For Batman purists, West is the ur-Batman, having originated the role in the 1960s ABC series.

In channeling West in "Kick-Ass," Cage brings a cheery, campy foil to the otherwise violent film. Per director Matthew Vaughn, the characterization was purely Cage's invention. "I wasn't sure about it, and then he did it and I thought it was brilliant," Vaughn told The Hollywood Reporter in 2020. 

The gambit was less successful withWest himself. In his Reddit response, Cage recalls discussing the performance with his source of inspiration: "I met Adam West once and I said, "did you see I was channeling you?" To this, West apparently replied, "I saw you TRY to channel me!" Everyone's a critic, even Batman.