For better or worse, Nicolas Cage is a living legend. The 50-year-old movie star makes his long awaited return to serious drama this weekend in “Joe,” the latest film from director David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express,” “Prince Avalanche”). Cage plays Joe, a rural Texas man trying to outrun his troubled past. A hard-working guy with a temper, Joe's finds himself becoming an unlikely role model to a young teen at a crossroads (played by up-and-comer Tye Sheridan).
Watch the trailer:
In contrast to many of Cage's more recent, straight-to-video calibre roles (see flops like "Bangkok Dangerous," "Stolen," etc.), his performance in "Joe" has garnered near universal critical praise. The Wall Street Journal called the film a "stirring portrait of a violence-prone man" andL.A. Weeklysaid the film is Cage's "reminder that he's one of his generation's great talents."
To mark the Oscar winner's triumphant return to the world of respectable film acting, we thought this would be a good time to look back at the numbers behind the eccentric actor's career.
Year he made his film debut: 1982
Cage’s first film appearance was a bit part in Amy Heckerling’s 1982 classic “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Cage was credited by his real name Nicolas Coppola (he's the nephew of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola).
How many cockroaches he’s eaten on film: 3
Cage is responsible for some of the most memorable and infamous movie scenes of the past three decades, but one of the most infamous scenes of the actor's career came courtesy of 1988's "Vampire's Kiss." The scene in question required Cage's oddball character to chew and swallow a live cockroach, and it reportedly took three takes to complete! "Every muscle in my body didn't want to do it," Cage once said. "But I did it anyway."
Number of movies he's appeared in so far: 72
Cage has 74 film credits to his name if you include the TV movies “Best of Times” and “Industrial Symphony No. 1.” He has never acted in a television show.
How many movies he’s directed: 1
Incredibly, Cage has only ever directed one movie: 2002's "Sonny." The indie film starred James Franco as a veteran turned New Orleans male prostitute and was only ever released in six theatres.
His biggest pay day: $20 million
Though he can’t command the salaries he used to, Cage remains one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors. In the early 2000s, though, Cage was the $20 million man, commanding that much for "Gone in Sixty Seconds," "Windtalkers," and "National Treasure." These days he’ll work for a more modest $2 million to $10 million per film and a percentage of the movie’s gross.
How much money his films have grossed: $4.7 billion
According to Box Office Mojo, Cage's movies have grossed a total of $4.7 billion worldwide. Cage films gross an average of $44.3 million each. His most successful film? Surprisingly, it's 2013's "The Croods," which has made $587 million worldwide to date. His least successful film? "Stolen" (2012), which made just $2.1 million globally.
Number of major film awards he's won: 2
Cage won a Best Actor Oscar and a Golden Globe for his performance in 1995’s “Leaving Las Vegas.” He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA for his performance in 2002's "Adaptation." Despite being nominated seven times, Cage has amazingly never one a Golden Raspberry (Razzie) award.
How many people he's killed on screen: 454
According to movie body count website All Outta Bubble Gum, Cage has racked up appoximately 454 on-screen kills. Not bad for a guy who only really started his action movie career after winning an Oscar. Unsurprisingly, the Cage film with the most kills is John Woo’s 2002 World War II actioner “Windtalkers,” in which his character kills 136 people. If you want to get really technical, though, it's likely that the weapons sold by Cage's arms dealer character in "Lord of War" were responsible for the deaths of thousands.
Number of times he's freaked out on screen: ?!
We’ve really lost count at this point, but it almost goes without saying that if you’re watching a movie with Nicolas Cage in it, his character will absolutely freak out at some point (we’re assuming it’s in his contract somewhere). For an illustrative example of this, please refer to this hilarious and not safe for work video “Nicolas Cage Losing His S#*%” featuring dozens of Cage’s best on-screen freakouts. The prize for the Most Nic Cage Freakouts in a single movie definitely goes to the 1988 cult classic “Vampire’s Kiss,” with 2009’s “The Wicker Man” not far behind.
How many superheroes he’s played: 2 (and a half)
Cage played Johnny Blaze in the two “Ghost Rider” movies, as well as Batman knockoff Big Daddy in 2010’s “Kick-Ass.” But the superhero Cage is most famous for is one that he never actually got to play: Superman. In 1997, Cage, a lifelong comic book fan (he even named his son Kal-el), was cast to play the Man of Steel in the Tim Burton-directed “Superman Lives!" The project eventually fell through, but Cage’s pay-or-play contract netted him $20 million.
How many Internet memes he’s inspired: Incalculable
From “Nicolas Cage is a vampire,” to “My Hair is a Bird,” and “You don’t say,” there’s a Nic Cage-related internet meme appropriate for just about every occasion.
The longer Nicolas Cage remains a Hollywood star, the more the mystique surrounding him seems to grow. With a number of projects in the pipe, including the recently announced "National Treasure 3," the Cage legend (along with the many, many numerical facts that accompany it) is sure to grow.
"Joe" is in theatres on April 11.