In The unbearable weight of massive talent, the topic of fan culture is explored when Javi Gutierrez, a wealthy fanboy (Pedro Pascal), offers actor Nick Cage (Nicolas Cage) $1 million to attend his birthday party. For clarity, actor Nicolas Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself here. His character name is aptly titled Nick Cage. In the story, Cage suffers from money problems and a career that has lost its luster. Cage not only sees an opportunity financially, but in a fan who appreciates and admires his successful journey as an actor is exactly what Cage needs at this stage in his life. This birthday invitation has some interesting ramifications, though, and shenanigans ensue when Javi isn’t quite the man he seems to be.
The unbearable weight of massive talent is written and directed by Tom Gormican (That awkward moment) and co-written by Kevin Etten (spooky, workaholic). BGN spoke to the filmmakers on the phone the day after the film’s world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival in mid-March. The whimsicality and eccentricity of the story and performances of The unbearable weight of massive talent were perfect for SXSW. Based in Austin, TX, the festival is known for its rather idiosyncratic array of features.
Writer/director Tom Gormican described acclaimed actor Nicolas Cage as “the patron saint of strangeness.” When asked what that description of Cage meant, Gormican says, “Everything Nick does is a celebration. From the way he dresses to the way he behaves, he believes in what he does and does it with such panache and competence.”
There is no question that there is something very alluring about Nicolas Cage’s appearance as a performer. He has several internet memes of his hair blowing in the wind Con Air for eye candy vampire’s kiss, where he delivers an insane smile. According to some reports, Cage isn’t particularly happy with these viral memes since his over-the-top style is very thoughtful and carefully planned. Echoing the same sentiments about the famous artist, Gormican describes Cage’s approach to his work as having an underlying intelligence that is thoughtful. “He’s the most prepared actor we’ve ever worked with. He’s happy to be here,” Gormican said.
As for the writing process, Gormican has partnered with Kevin Etten on the script. For the most part, very few changes were made during filming. In The unbearable weight of massive talent, a handful of film clips from films starring Nicolas Cage were featured in the film. There were some ideas as to what films should be included The unbearable weight of massive talent. AAccording to Etten, additional reels of film from Cage’s inventory were inserted into the film as clips during the development process. Etten says there was a specific scene where a film clip from the 1996 Michael Bay film was added The stone.
“During script development, a scene was added where [Nick] is at a low point. He sees himself on TV The stone comes on and he turns off the TV,” Etten muses. While the filmmakers had no problem obtaining permits and licensing agreements for the films, the most expensive space to film was the Nick Cage Memorial Room, according to Gormican. Javi, a super fan of Cage, has an entire room – which serves more as a shrine to dedicate his affections to Cage’s professional career. This includes prop weapons, costumes and even a mannequin in Cage’s likeness.
The film features an interesting oddball named Nicky (also played by Cage). Lanky, long-haired Nicky is a younger version of Cage and a product of the actor’s imagination. Nicky’s aesthetic and overall look are heavily inspired by Nicolas Cage’s own wardrobe and previous press interviews during the press tour for the 1990 David Lynch film Wild at heart. Gormican describes directing Cage as two characters in these scenes, and working with the special visual effects was a challenge.
“It was all very complicated. I have to say that I really enjoyed seeing him play both sides of this character and being able to inhabit a sort of younger version of himself. He needs to get Cage with this character.”
Etten believes that overall community building is where fan culture can grow. “I think like anything, it’s a matter of degree. Yes, at some point it goes into an unhealthy area and you use that image of that person to make up for what’s missing in your life. All of this is projected onto this character. So when it gets into that range, yes, it feels unhealthy. However, I think the internet has shown and enabled groups of people who would never have discovered each other to come together around these common interests. I think that can be a healthy thing to do,” says Etten.
When fans come together to share their interest in actor Nicolas Cage and his long list of films from the 80’s to the present day, the question for every fan arises:
What is your favorite Nicolas Cage film?
Tom Gormican has two favorites: adjustment and face off.
“Two very different sides of Nicolas Cage, but two incredibly powerful performances in really different ways. adjustment is small, inside and nuanced. It sets him and his brother apart and the characters so perfectly. I watched it again and again. That’s probably why I became obsessed with the neurotic Nicolas Cage. and face off is just this bombastic, larger-than-life achievement,” shares Gormican.
Kevin Etten also has two favourites: moonstruck and The stone.
“moonstruck because it was a film that my parents loved and was introduced to me. I know it’s an ensemble piece, but Cage really stands out. The stone is a film that I will never turn off and will watch whenever I see it on TV.”
The filmmakers turned the tables and interviewed me by asking me what my favorite Nicolas Cage film was. Of course I answered without a pause Raise Arizona. Best Comedic Performance and also The Cohen Brothers’ High Point.
And if you’re looking for a comedy with a bit of Cohen brothers flair and ridiculous madness, Tom Gormican and Kevin Ettens The unbearable weight of massive talent is your thing.
The film opens in theaters nationwide on April 15.