The weight of Nicolas Cage’s talent is demonstrated in his self-referential comedy

(By Martín Olavarría) Nicolas Cage embodies in “The Weight of Talent”, an action comedy that opens tomorrow in theaters, a very funny satirical version of himself in which metafiction has a constant presence and his four decades of race.

The renowned actor celebrates forty years since his first appearance on the big screen in the cult youth comedy “Student Picardias”, also the film debut as a screenwriter of the award-winning Cameron Crowe, and he took advantage of the occasion to produce and star in a valid, entertaining self-tribute already in tune with what its renewed fan base requires.

After some hiccups after rising to the top of Hollywood in 1995 with his brilliant and moving role as a suicidal alcoholic in the romantic drama “Goodbye Las Vegas,” for which he won a well-deserved Oscar and Golden Globe, Cage’s career revitalized with good choices in the last five years, in which he incorporated new audiences through the outstanding “Mandy”, “Color Out of Space” and “Pig”, and even in the Marvel universe putting his voice for the animated “Spider- Man: A new universe.”

In this case, the metafiction produced by Cage, directed by Tom Gormican and written by him and Kevin Etten, includes constant references to the glorious past -and not so much- of the actor, since Nicolas Cage from “The Weight of Talent” is paid a million dollars to attend the birthday of a millionaire played by Pedro Pascal, who idolizes him and has a small museum in his mansion full of props from his filmography, such as the chainsaw used in “Mandy.”

The fictional version of Cage finds him in a decadent stage of his career in which he is rejected in the roles he wants to get and is obsessed with his future in the cinema to the point of disconnecting for that reason from his family, made up in the story by his teenage daughter and his ex-wife.

What begins as a self-referential comedy in which Cage makes fun of himself turns into a plot of action and espionage, without abandoning humor for a minute, when the protagonist is recruited by a CIA agent (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to their own legend, channeling their most iconic roles to resolve the situation.

In this way, with a career in action movies built for that moment, the actor will have to assume the role of “Nicky” Cage, as he calls his imaginary alter ego in the film with whom he frequently dialogues, inspired by his own self. of the nineties: a successful, young, wild and raucous Cage that drives the current Cage to be more courageous to retake the lost success.

That imaginary dialogue between both versions of himself is another of the most efficient metanarrative layers, since for the young Cage there was inspiration in a memorable appearance of the actor in a television program in 1990 to promote “Wild Heart”, by David Lynch, occasion in which when entering the studio he improvised a ram turn, karate kicks, started throwing dollars at the audience and ended up shirtless for the interview.

It was precisely this idea that turned Cage to the project: “It was my favorite aspect of the film. I wanted to fight for Nicky to be there, he was the character who stole the story, the one who made me laugh the most and the guy who made me say yes to the film,” said the actor in interviews.

To achieve the effect, digital makeup work was arranged and artificial intelligence was used to create a model of the actor’s face in the 1990s based on footage from that time.

However, before accepting the role, Cage rejected it four times for being offensive and mocking towards him: “I didn’t want anything to do with the movie. But after reading a letter that Gormican wrote to me, I understood that he wasn’t trying to make fun “he said about it.

Since the film mocks and celebrates Cage at the same time, the comedy is self-aware and the actor plays with his legendary figure, which made the interpreter see that the idea was worth it, since he liked that “there was a real interest in his earlier work” and noted a celebratory tone to his best moments on screen.

For this reason, the original title of the film, which can be translated as “The unbearable weight of massive talent”, is more representative of the hyperbolic spirit of the film than the less emphatic name that was chosen for the Spanish-speaking market.

Another moment of hilarious extravagance came from Cage’s own idea: take advantage of the presence of his other self to kiss himself.

“I wouldn’t have dared even suggest it, but it’s exactly the kind of choice Nicolas Cage made that led us to write this movie. One day he came over and said, ‘Guys, I have an idea: tongue kiss myself.'” , commented the director in statements to the media.

To undertake the picturesque initiative, it was necessary to use a stuntman and some retouching in post-production.

Cage also said that he committed to the project in part because it allowed him to redouble his efforts in terms of exuberant performances, which became the standard of his work and one of the most celebrated aspects.

This bizarre characteristic is what distances a certain public from the work of this particular actor who, not for nothing, worked with Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Ridley Scott, Werner Herzog, Oliver Stone, David Lynch, Alan Parker, Paul Schrader, the Coen brothers, Spike Jonze and his uncle Francis Ford Coppola.

The actor who renounced the famous last name (his birth name is Nicolas Kim Coppola) to start his own path without privileges, leaves us with his latest work a quite unusual metacinematographic exercise and very well achieved to round off one of the best comedies of the year. (Telam)

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