Nicolas Cage is a busy man, with a whopping three films opening this month alone: “Dog Eat Dog,” “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” and “Army of One.” However, he could’ve been even busier, not to mention a bit godly, with a key role on Starz’s “American Gods.”
In a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times, Cage reveals he turned down the part of Mr. Wednesday in the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed fantasy novel, a role that eventually went to Ian McShane. He acknowledges it was “a great part, beautifully written,” but says television just isn’t for him — at least right now.
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“It probably would be good for me globally as a career move to do television, and never say never — I probably will one day,” he says. “But the idea of being stuck in one city for months on end playing a part — while that might be interesting, I could see where I might start to feel trapped. I’m just still a little bit of a snob. I mean, I’m holding on. Again, I’m never going to say never but I’m, like, kicking and screaming that I just want to stay in movies.”
The “Ghost Rider” star, who very nearly played Superman in the 1990s, also says he’s “not surprised at all” by Hollywood’s current domination by superheroes. During the second half of the 1970s, teenage Nicolas Kim Coppola was reading comics books like any kid of the time. Most never believed they’d see a day when Spider-Man would swing into the local muliplex, let alone three different franchise versions of the web-slinger. Not young Nicolas, though.
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While he wasn’t “mystical and prescient,” he did find himself thinking “the comic book would one day overtake the film industry.” Cage understood the technology was lacking, but felt confident that “when the technology got to the point that the stories could be seen in all their spectacular glory, it would captivate the world — and it did.” Yes … it did.
In fact, he loved comics so much, he turned to them for inspiration for his stage. During his early years of acting, he didn’t want to receive special treatment from those who knew his uncle was director Francis Ford Coppola. So, he changed his name to Nicolas Cage, a reference to one his favorite characters, Luke Cage. Sweet Christmas, indeed.
“American Gods” is adapted from the fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It tells the story of Shadow Moon, a man looking for redemption after being released from prison. His adventures begin when he meets Mr. Wednesday, a crafty old con-man that happens to be the All-Father Odin. Shadow becomes entangled in a brewing war between the old, more traditional gods of lore, and the new gods who are representatives of American vices such as technology, the internet, media consumption and money.
Written by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, “American Gods” debuts in 2017 on Starz.