Characters Nicolas Cage Almost Played
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Apparently, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman had Nicolas Cage in mind when he was writing the script for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, years before director Michel Gondry would turn it into a big-screen sci-fi romance.
Dumb and Dumber
Cage has said in interviews that he and Carrey wanted to work together at the time, and Carrey had specifically wanted to get him involved in Dumb and Dumber. Cage passed on the project, however, and decided to instead focus his energy on the little independent project Leaving Las Vegas.
Back in 2004, before he returned to China to make real movies again, director John Woo had been considering an update of the venerable Masters of the Universe toy-and-cartoon-and-atrocious-'80s-film franchise.
Jason Lewis, then riding high on "Sex and the City" fame, was a favorite to take on the lead role of He-Man, and say it with me now, Nicolas Cage was considered for the part of Skeletor.
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (2006)
The beloved Roald Dahl children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was originally adapted into an equally beloved 1971 musical film starring Gene Wilder as the unpredictable candymaker.A remake had been discussed since the mid 1990s, with various directors and actors being attached over the years.
Michael Keaton, Christopher Walken, and John C. Reilly were all in the early running for the role of Wonka during these initial discussions, as was, obviously, Nicolas Cage.
The Matrix (1999)
In the same interview where Cage discussed his short-lived flirtation with playing Aragorn, he also discussed passing on starring as Neo in the original film The Matrix.
Lord of the Rings I, II & III (2001-03)
Cage revealed in a 2011 interview that Peter Jackson had discussed casting him as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings films.
He decided to turn down the role of Isildur's heir, not because he didn't feel like it was believable that all the Kingdoms of Men in Middle-Earth would unite behind his rule, but because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
During a Q&A at New York Comic-Con in 2011, the duo behind Crank – Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor – mentioned that they had initially written the main character of Chev Chelios as Nicolas Cage.
Superman Returns (2006)
"Nicolas Cage, the weird not-necessarily-all-that-buff guy far-from-mild-mannered guy, was the main contender to play Superman and his alter-ego, Clark Kent.
In 2009, this image – said to be a test of Cage in what was then being considered as a Superman suit – spread around the Internet, confirming what most had long suspected. Nicolas Cage as Superman is a weird idea."
While promoting his "Ghost Rider" sequel in early 2012, Cage told MTV news about a meeting he'd had years earlier with director Joel Schumacher.
After directing 1995's "Batman Forever" and then the largely-reviled "Batman and Robin," Schumacher was somehow actually being considered for a third take on Bruce Wayne & Co., the tentatively titled "Batman Triumphant."
Director Darren Aronofsky had offered the role to Nicolas Cage first, and Cage had actually accepted. Though some reports at the time had said that Cage had been dropped from the movie, the actor himself insisted that he had accepted the role and then thought better of it.
The Breakfast Club
Back in the mid'80s, Cage was primarily recognizable as Randy, the punk outsider in Martha Coolidge's non-classic Valley Girl. So naturally, he was in the early running to portray serial detention attendee John Bender in John Hughes' The Breakfast Club.
It seemed like a match made in heaven, and Cage was signed to star in Constantine for director Tarsem Singh (of The Cell and, more recently, The Immortals.) Unfortunately, Singh and WB clashed – over both the budget and Cage's involvement, depending on which report you read – and even ended up suing one another.
Director Brett Ratner had considered Cage for the role in his remake of Red Dragon. (The book had previously been made into the film Manhunter by Michael Mann, which starred Tom Noonan as the oddly-renamed Dollarhyde.) Sean Penn had also been in the running for the part.
The notes are not mine.