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The Two Major Franchises Nicolas Cage Turned Down

Nicolas Cage, in addition to his acclaim and veneration as a serious, Oscar-winning film actor, is no stranger to the massive studio tentpole blockbuster. Such classics as "The Rock" and "Face/Off" are signature pieces of his filmography, as are the "National Treasure" and "Ghost Rider" film series. Of course, there are also failed franchise one-offs like "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" or the 2009 computer-animated "Astro Boy" film.

But as Cage recently revealed during an interview for his film "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," there are also at least two major feature film franchises that the actor turned down. The franchises in question are just about as big as they come, even without the participation of Cage. Still, the fact that the actor could have been involved makes it fascinating to wonder how they might have differed from the versions we know and love with Cage and his particular brand of mega-acting somewhere in their respective casts.

Cage says he turned down both The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings

Nicolas Cage is in a retrospective mode lately, an appropriate feeling given his press tour for "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." In a recent interview with People, he revealed a particularly fascinating pair of decisions he made in the late '90s and early 2000s when he says he turned down parts in both "The Matrix" and the "Lord of the Rings" films.

Cage revealed that, at the end of the day, his ability to spend time with his family comes first, and that was his reason for not wanting to commit to either franchise. "I turned down Lord of the Rings and I turned down Matrix because I didn't want to go to New Zealand for three years or Australia for three years because I needed to be home with my son Weston, that's a fact," explained Cage.

The actor's larger point was that his commitment to his family is a big difference between his real life and the fictionalized version of himself he's playing in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." Unfortunately, he doesn't share any more details on what roles he was up for in these films, so we don't know which characters might have been portrayed in Cage's unique style. Nic Cage as Morpheus? Nic Cage as Elrond (or Agent Smith for that matter)? Until Cage or someone else in the know decides to elaborate further, we just have to be content to wonder.