Nicolas Cage says he probably didn't get paid for his Oscar-winning role in 'Leaving Las Vegas' — but he doesn't care

Nicolas Cage says he probably didn't get paid for his Oscar-winning role in 'Leaving Las Vegas' — but he doesn't care
  • Nicolas Cage says it's probably true he didn't get paid for "Leaving Las Vegas."

  • The role won him his one and only Oscar in 1996.

  • But he says he doesn't care because he "absolutely had to play" the part.

Nicolas Cage may have left a paycheck behind when he was leaving Las Vegas.

The actor, who played a suicidal alcoholic screenwriter, Ben Sanderson, in the 1995 film "Leaving Las Vegas," was largely unbothered when asked about the fact he may not have gotten paid for his Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning role.

On the red carpet at the SXSW Film & TV Festival on Monday, the actor told Business Insider it was "probably true" he didn't get paid for the movie.

"But I haven't been thinking about it," Cage said.

The story first came to light when the film's writer-director, Mike Figgis, recalled in 2022 on The Hollywood Reporter's "It Happened in Hollywood" podcast that he and Cage never actually got paid the $100,000 apiece they were owed for their work on the movie because the company that financed the film said it "never went into profit" — despite earning $32 million at the box office against a $4 million budget.

Figgis wasn't concerned by the lack of pay, telling THR that his career — and Cage's — took off after the critical success of "Leaving Las Vegas," winning them awards and much bigger paydays for future projects.

Cage told BI he felt similarly.

"I got to play a part that I absolutely had to play," he said. "There was no doubt in my mind that it would be an experience and a great movie. I wasn't going to stop — whether they paid me or not, I was making the movie."

Cage, who was at SXSW for the premiere of his latest movie, "Arcadian," is known for his love of film as an art form and his offbeat role choices. He told BI he'd gravitated toward the horror genre in movies such as "Mandy," "Willy's Wonderland," and now "Arcadian" because of the films he loved in his youth.

"I grew up watching Hammer horror films. I also grew up watching the old German expressionists, and I grew up watching Lon Chaney," Cage said. "I'm kind of a natural-born surrealist of sorts — I gravitate toward surreal paintings, surreal music, and surreal avant-garde performance art."

While "Arcadian," an action horror film in which Cage stars as a father desperately trying to keep his twin boys alive in a postapocalyptic world filled with deadly monsters, is more "photo-realistic" in its approach, Cage teased that his coming horror movie "Longlegs" is more surrealistic.

"Everyone seems to want to believe that 1970s naturalism is the arbiter of that which is considered great acting. Well, yes, it is, but it's also not only that," Cage told BI. "If you go into the horror genre — not in 'Arcadian' so much, but 'Longlegs' you'll see — you can be a surrealistic performance artist."

"Arcadian," directed by Ben Brewer and written by Cage's longtime agent and producing partner, Mike Nilon, is in theaters April 12.

Read the original article on Business Insider