Nicolas Cage says he turned down two of the biggest movie franchises of all time, for family time

In his new movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nicolas Cage plays an over-the-top version of himself that pokes fun of the public’s perception of him. However, in real life, the Oscar winner says he’s far more grounded.

In fact, Cage tells People, “[T]here’s no version of Nic Cage in reality that doesn’t want to spend time with his children.”

“There’s no version of Nic Cage that didn’t put family first over career. I turned down Lord of the Rings and I turned down Matrix because I didn’t want to go to New Zealand for three years or Australia for three years because I needed to be home with my son, Weston, that’s a fact,” the 58-year-old says.

Weston is now 32; Cage is also the father of 16-year-old Kal-El, and is expecting a baby with his fifth wife, Riko Shibata.

When it comes to his filmography, which is peppered with Oscar winners like Leaving Las Vegas, action hits like Con Air, recent acclaimed performances like Pig and Unbearable Weight, and plenty of more forgettable straight-to-streaming titles, Cage is circumspect.

“I always say to myself, ‘I never had a career, only work.’ What I mean by that is sometimes — and I won’t mention names — but when you get into this career-minded perception of one’s self it can be a slippery slope, and it can lead to things where you start believing in your own mythos, and you start taking yourself way too seriously.”

He adds, “You become pretentious and then you fall into the realm of diva, and that’s when mistakes happen in your personal life and on camera.”

Also starring Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, and Neil Patrick Harris, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent hits theaters Friday.

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