Born Nicolas Coppola, future star Nicolas Cage gained1 his earliest acting experiences as a youngster when he would put on performances with his siblings2 and star in short films filmed by his brother, Christopher. After further dabbling3 in stage productions and acting lessons, Nicolas Cage pulled the plug4 on his education at Beverly Hills High School (where he was pals with Crispin Glover) and decided to make acting his full-time pursuit5. After a small role in the iconic 1982 high school comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Nicolas Cage got a cinematic boost6 from his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, who gave him a role opposite Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke in 1983’s Rumble Fish.
Not wanting his famous relative to become the raison d’etre7 for his career, Nicholas Cage dropped the last name of Coppola and replaced it with Cage in recognition of comic book hero Luke Cage. His new shift away8 from the Coppola name began with his first lead role in 1983’s Valley Girl, but surprisingly, he would immediately work with his uncle again for two more films, playing a gangster in The Cotton Club, and the high school sweetheart of the time-traveling Kathleen Turner in the romantic fable9, Peggy Sue Got Married. Nicolas Cage’s next romantic foray10 in the very Italian romance Moonstruck would get him early praise11, along with a Golden Globe nomination, as the hotheaded younger man who steals Cher’s heart.
Because of Moonstruck, Nicolas Cage became a recognizable on-screen personality and his subsequent12 roles came to reflect the very different sides of his personality. He ate cockroaches on-screen in Vampire’s Kiss, kidnapped13 babies for the Coen Brothers in Raising Arizona, and made Elvis into a tough guy in David Lynch’s off-kilter14 romance, Wild at Heart. While Nicolas Cage had established himself as a modern-day cinematic loose cannon, no one was quite sure if he could harness15 that talent into an Oscar nomination. After parachuting with flying Elvises to romance Sarah Jessicar Parker in 1992’s Honeymoon in Vegas, Nicolas Cage returned to Las Vegas in the bare bones 1995 indie film16, Leaving Las Vegas. As a despondent17 alcoholic who finds company and acceptance from an emotionally crippled18 prostitute (Elisabeth Shue), Nicolas Cage won his highest praise to date, which culminated in an Oscar for Best Actor.
Now fixed with the label of “serious actor,” Nicolas Cage ignored that title in favor of19 becoming an action hero instead. The triple shot of The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off added testosterone and movie cheese20 to Nicolas Cage’s career, making him a summer blockbuster favorite for entertainment junkies21 with a need to check their brains at the door. Audiences seemed to approve, but these new acting choices didn’t sit well with Sean Penn, who went public to say that Nicholas Cage was “no longer an actor,” implying that his Oscar-worthy career was now tarnished22. After openly questioning why Sean Penn cared so much about someone else’s career, Nicolas Cage fought back against the sellout accusations23 by getting his second Oscar nomination as disillusioned24 screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin Donald in the 2002 Spike Jonze film, Adaptation.
In 2004, Nicolas Cage enjoyed his biggest box office success in years as the Indiana Jones-inspired Benjamin Gates in National Treasure. In keeping with his unpredictable ways, he didn’t continue on the blockbuster route25, choosing instead to play a soulless arms dealer opposite Bridget Moynahan in Lord of War and a hapless26 television personality in The Weather Man. While neither film was a mainstream his, Nicolas Cage’s performances in each were positively noted. He garnered further praise as 9/11 survivor John McLoughlin in Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center before becoming the butt of YouTube jokes for going stupendously over-the-top to wear a bear suit and fight crazy women in the ill-advised remake of The Wicker Man.
Following a stint as Johnny Blaze, who becomes Ghost Rider in a deal with the Devil, and the inevitable27 National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Nicolas Cage entered the realm28 of apocalyptic cinema to play a professor uncovering the links between numbers and disasters in the 2009 hit, Knowing. Soon afterward, he played a troubled cop who sees imaginary29 iguanas and smokes from lucky crack pipes in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, his first effort for the ever-eccentric director Werner Herzog. In 2010, Nicolas Cage returns to the comic book realm for Kick-Ass, where he’ll play a crusader30 helping an aspiring superhero. He’ll also star as a sorcerer in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and a knight transporting deadly female cargo in Season of the Witch.
1 gain - получать
2 siblings – братья и сестры
3 dabble – заниматься чем-либо как хобби
4 pull the plug – начать чем-либо активно заниматься в жизни
5 pursuit – занятие, дело
6 boost – поддержка в мире кино
7 raison d’etre – смысл деятельности
8 shift away – отдаление, отстранение
9 fable - сказка
10 foray – набег, смелое нападение
11 early praise – ранняя слава
12 subsequent - последующий
13 kidnap – похищение ребенка
14 off-kilter - беспорядочный
15 harness – использовать, приспособить
16 indie film – фильм, снятый независимой компанией
17 despondent - отчаявшийся
18 emotionally crippled – эмоционально неустойчивый
19 in favor of – в пользу чего-либо
20 movie cheese – важность, значительность в мире кино
21 entertainment junkie – любитель развлечений
22 tarnish – блекнуть, тускнуть
23 accusation – обвинение, упрек
24 disillusioned - недоверчивый
25 route – путь, маршрут
26 hapless – неудачливый, несчастливый
27 inevitable - неизбежный
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