For actor Nicolas Cage, acting feels more like mixed martial arts.
Speaking at THR's annual Actor Roundtable with other renowned actors — or thespians, as preferred by Cage — the icon compared acting to Jeet Kune Do, the self-made fighting style of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. When asked what his first lesson would be if he were to give an acting class, Cage said, "I would say there's no real style of acting. It's almost like a mixed martial art."
He continued, "It can be whatever you want it to be. You can combine, you can create your Jeet Kune Do with acting. Don't get trapped in a style. Don't get trapped in naturalism, and be open to your dreams. Your imagination is your most important tool, and there are ways to augment your imagination, healthy ways to augment your imagination, so that you’re not necessarily doing, you're being. Dreams. Dreams are important."
Cage, nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola, has been around the art of acting his whole life, and is known for his unique approach to method acting. Whether playing a nerdy action hero like in The Rock, a hard-hearted arms dealer in Lord of War, or a psychopathic criminal in Face/Off, Cage brings an over-the-top energy to each role that has made him the subject of numerous memes. But he has also garnered critical acclaim for his performances in movies like Pig and Leaving Las Vegas.
Bruce Lee once said of Jeet Kune Do, "I have not invented a 'new style,' composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from 'this' method or 'that' method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns or molds." This philosophy has been credited with paving the way for professional MMA, a combat sport that allows virtually all fighting styles and combinations thereof.
Cage was joined in the roundtable discussion by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), and Simon Rex (Red Rocket) — a diverse group of actors who demonstrate there is no single formula for success. The troupe discussed aspects of their craft such as style, auditions, masculinity and the impact of pandemic theater closings, as well as promoting recent and upcoming projects, including Cage's Pig.
Cage is set to be in a number of 2022 movies, notably playing himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
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