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2010: The year in Nic Cage

By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  December 22, 2010

Cage delivers a perfect performance in Kick-Ass as Big Daddy. In a press conference that same month, he recounts a pivotal moment in his career — an encounter with Miles Davis on The Dick Cavett Show that inspired him to "approach acting as jazz": "I was talking about things like art synthesis and Picasso and you can do with acting what he did, or with music, and [Davis] . . . nodded and he winked at me. Miles Davis, you know. And we were sharing the trumpet." Less than two weeks later, TMZ reports that Cage has erected "a nine-foot-tall pyramid-shaped super-tomb" — strikingly similar to the Eye of Providence from National Treasure — in a New Orleans cemetery.

At the British opening of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Cage rants about his dietary habits to a tabloid reporter from the Sun. "I have a fascination with fish, birds, whales — sentient life — insects, reptiles," he says. "I actually choose the way I eat according to the way animals have sex. I think fish are very dignified with sex. So are birds. . . . But pigs, not so much. So I don't eat pig meat or things like that. I eat fish and fowl."

On June 16, Cage confirms that he'll reprise the role of motorcycle daredevil Johnny Blaze in the sequel to Ghost Rider. The following day, Variety announces Cage will star opposite Nicole Kidman in the scintillating marital thriller Trespass. An animator named Harry Partridge creates a short, nightmarish music-video riff on a scene from Cage's star turn in The Family Man. "Nicolas Cage Wants Cake" inspires legions of imitators.

After a series of setbacks, including a production accident in which a stunt Ferrari drove into the window of a Times Square Sbarro, The Sorcerer's Apprentice opens to dismal box-office returns and worse reviews. Cage swears to forego dark movies so as not to upset Kal-El, denies rumors of a bar fight, and admits to shrooming with his cat.

Cage bows out of Trespass, then rejoins the cast days later. Soon after, he tells a reporter about throwing up on his senior prom date.

If 2010 seemed eventful, consider 2009: the banks foreclosed on several of Cage's 20 residences; the IRS placed a lien on his assets because of $6.3 million in unpaid taxes; a jealous public scorned his affinity for shrunken heads and venomous snakes; and Cage filed a lawsuit against former business manager Samuel Levin, whom Cage blamed for his financial downward spiral. One year later, Cage and Levin settle out of court.

LARPers sigh ambivalently when they discover Season of the Witch will premiere the first week in January, when studios send their stinkers out to die. A new trailer for Drive Angry 3D premieres, thrilling fans of grindhouse, muscle cars, and those who want to see Cage play a deceased criminal who escapes hell to wreak havoc on a death cult. In Vienna, Cage speaks out against organized crime.

One of Cage's foreclosed estates sells for $10.5 million, and the star must bid a final adieu to décor that includes purple velvet couches, blood-red velvet ceilings with exposed beams, and lime-green accent lamps. Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance begins filming in Bucharest.

Cage freaks out in the parking lot of a nightclub in Bucharest. An enterprising clubgoer films the incident, which is then broadcast around the world. Millions watch a drunk Cage yelling incoherently at a parking attendant; one of the few discernable words is "die." Days later, Cage announces he will star in Medallion, a film about a reformed thief who must rescue his daughter after she's kidnapped and locked in a taxi.

Eugenia Williamson can be reached

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Related: The Top 10 Films of 2010, The worst and best of Boston sports in 2010, 2010 in Updates to the AP Stylebook, More more >
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