Nicolas Cage | I'm Big in China
A completely unscientific investigation into international star appeal.
For over a decade I’ve wondered what strategies have kept Nic Cage famous, besides being the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola. Here are some key moves I spy from GQ's cover boy:
Power Move #1 - Secure Brand Ambassadorship Abroad
In a past life, I may have had something to do with a well-publicized Beijing debut of the actor as the face of Mont Blanc. I thought it was an interesting choice for the luxury brand… is Nicolas Cage that big in China?
Perhaps he didn't start as audiences' most-loved laowai, but heavy debts and a poisonous run of box office flops made Cage double down on the China cash-grab.
Since the noughties he's been hustling hard overseas, winning Best Global Actor in Motion Pictures at China's Huading Awards (only awarded once-- meaning Nic Cage was deigned the best actor of all actors-- ever), filmed action/epic co-production Outcast which bombed miserably, and has enjoyed the distinct honor of starring in many films shown to prisoners in China.
The sponsorships are continually baffling, like this nonsensical car commercial. Nonetheless they imbue the collective memory with Nic's baby blues, and reap a tidy profit to boot.
Power Move #2 - CULTivate Your Fans Online
Cage's fans are diehard, adoring and terrifying, and they refer to the actor as One True God on a dedicated subreddit. His memes are endless. And they travel well, keeping his work fresh in the memory of your group chat no matter what language it's in.
You: How's your day been?
His roles range from Italian-American baker with a wooden hand (Moonstruck) to Ukrainian arms dealer (Lord of War (great movie)) to an upcoming Dracula portrayal (Renfield) and continue to win over black, bitter hearts all over the world. Even if his films flop. Because box office fame explodes and then fizzles out, but a strong internet cult following is a slow burn.
Power Move #3 - Make a Cheeky Biopic
After watching Nic's rise in China I watched Lost in Translation, and was convinced it was inspired by Cage's sad, but still enviable life as a dying star. It wasn't, but it was written and directed by Sofia Coppola, Cage's first cousin. Then, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent:
Nic Cage's stranger-than-fiction biopic about a career burnout going abroad to make a quick buck. That's right, Nic Cage playing Nic Cage flying to Mallorca to appear at a super fan’s birthday for a million dollars.
A full-mirrored metaverse of Cage on Cage.
In Conclusion: WhoTF Cares?
Literally millions of people. Even if his curated persona of sordid ostentation is not your bag, the man still has clout. Does his universal appeal still need explaining? Guess you'll just have to keep watching...