We live in strange times. It used to be that a celebrity was exactly what was sold to us, by whatever music corporation or film studio; but I can assure you, no one ever meant for Nicolas Cage’s crowning achievement to be Wicker Man, or for his hair to be a bird. And yet, here we are.
Nic has become something neither he nor his fans could ever have expected—and what that is, is incredibly hard to say. The most popular opinion is one of a past-prime actor whose charming overacting has come to express all of our desires for cake and our dismissals of invalid arguments. But to stop there is to take a single snapshot of a meteor still in motion.
The traditional celebrity is now just the seed which, when tossed into the fertile radioactivity of the interwebs, grows into the internet celebrity, the meme, which is pruned to become whatever we want and conceive it to be. Our Nicolas Cage documentary seeks to wrap your head around that fact, because some very strange considerations arise. What about the Nic Cage meme as a living thing, evolving to better suit the tumultuous environment of our whims? What about the Nic Cage meme as a god, influencing its creators even as its creators mold it?
The first installment of our video project, entitled Cage is Art, starts more humbly. What if we look beyond the irony—to Nic as the inspiration, as the patron saint of unbridled self-expression? We visit the Nicolas Cage Art Show in Los Angeles and its ten thousand faces of Cage. We ask patrons how a man can go from a budding artist to an eccentric, to the internet’s favorite joke, to an object of genuine adoration. We speak to participating artists and ask: can we consider Nic Cage highbrow or lowbrow? Ironic or genuine? Meaningful, meaningless, or simply playful?