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Nicolas Cage just wrapped up shooting on location in China for British director Nick Powell’s upcoming period drama Outcast, co-starring Hayden Christensen. But before Cage left the country, he gave an interview to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, in which he reveals a few things about his role in the film, discusses his acting methods and speaks out against the dearth of lead roles offered to male Asian actors in Hollywood.
Answering a question about his experience working with the Chinese crew on Outcast, Cage took the opportunity to briefly turn the interview in a more serious direction.
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After praising his female co-star Liu Yifei‘s performance and saying how much he enjoyed working with the Chinese industry, Cage added: “I hope that we will see more Chinese actors in American cinema too. We do see Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Chow Yun Fat, but it’s very rare to see the Chinese male actor in Hollywood movies, which is something I take great umbrage with. You know, my son is Asian. He may want to direct one day; he may want to be an actor like his father — and I want that to be open to him. So I want to make some kind of effort to see more of that happen in Hollywood.”
Cage’s wife Alice Kim is Korean-American. He said their 8-year-old son, Kal-El (named after Superman’s birth name on planet Krypton), came along with him to China.
“He was here with me for the first few weeks, but he had to go back to the States to go back to school,” he said. “Selfishly, I wanted him to stay with me the whole time, but the teachers said he had to go back to school, so he went home.”
Outcast is the first film Cage – whose filmography spans some 75 films – has shot in China. He described the experience as positive and noted that he has “no doubt” China will soon surpass North America to become the world’s largest film market, as many analysts have forecasted.
The film is a co-production between China’s Yunnan Film Group and U.S.-Australian outfit Arclight Films.
“I do want to come back, and I want to work with a Chinese director and Chinese actors,” Cage said. “If there’s something that makes sense for a white guy like me, I’d like to do that here in China.”
He said he views Tony Leung (In the Mood for Love, Lust, Caution) as one of the world’s great actors.
“I would like to make a movie with Tony, but I don’t know how to do it,” he said. “I want to do it.”
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Last month Cage attended China’s Huading Awards, an awards show that honors talent across all categories of the arts. At the time he told The Hollywood Reporter that he hopes to soon move to Hong Kong.
He reiterated that desire in the CCTV interview, saying, “One of my goals is to have a base near mainland China. I think Hong Kong would be a good match for me. I like being in Hong Kong.”
Cage also gave a few hints about his role in Outcast, describing his character as a “reformed crusader,” adding that Powell, who is British, asked him to put on an English accent for the part.
“I’m working with a character who goes through a catharsis — who transforms from a violent man, as a crusader, to someone who no longer wants that life — and he leaves,” he said.
The hardworking actor also shared a few of his methods: “When I act, I hear it like music,” he said. “In my head, I hear the dialogue like music. And the movements, like dance…I do design my performances, and then when I get to the set, the part I can’t talk about — the magic inside, the sacred part, the emotion — I fill it with that. But I design it first like a performance.”
Near the end of the segment, CCTV’s anchor gently challenged Cage on his recent filmography, noting that some critics have questioned his choice of projects.
“You can’t make your choices based on what critics think. You have to make your choices based on what’s honest for you,” Cage replied.
He added: “I can’t let it bother me. I’m happy. I’m making movies I want to make. Something is working.”
Watch the full interview below.
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