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Post Info TOPIC: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'


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Posts: 6722
Date: 2:10 AM, 04/01/11
Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

This is a portion of Nic's appearance on 'Inside The Actor's Studio." If you have never seen it, it is well worth watching, it really gives insight into Nic and his acting motivations, and discusses many of his movies. Unfortunately, we only have a portion of the full episode, hopefully someday we can have the whole show here for your viewing pleasure.

Edit: Sadly, the video had to be removed as the copyright was disputed.


-- Edited by Lady Trueheart on Tuesday 22nd of October 2013 03:35:15 AM



Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

Status: Offline
Posts: 8403
Date: 2:04 PM, 04/10/11
Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

Yes indeed Lady Trueheart, and thank you for posting this section of it!

In the days when i could only access the web on a prehistoric cell phone, our wonderful friend Mara (Dame Ragnelle here at the castle) wrote a transcript at cagefsctor, and I am sure she would be happy for me to share it here!




JAMES LIPTON (host):Tonight´s guest was nominated for the British Academy award, and won the Best Actor award of the Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and New York Film Critics, the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the Screen Actor´s Guild, and received the Academy Award for his performance as Ben Sanderson in Leaving Las Vegas. In a career that spans only twenty years he has created an astonishing variety of looks, and sounds, and souls. From Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Valley Girl, Racing with the Moon, Rumblefish, The Cotton Club, Birdy, Peggy Sue got Married, Racing Arizona, Moonstruck for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, Vampire´s Kiss for which he received and Independent Spirit nomination, Wild at Heart, Honeymoon in Vegas for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, Guarding Tess, It Could Happen to You, The Rock for which he won an MTVand Blockbuster award, Con Air for which he won a Blockbuster award, Face/Off which earned him an MTV movie award Snake Eyes which earned him another Blockbuster award, Bringing Out the Dead, The Family Man for which he won the Blockbuster award, Windtalkers, Adaptation and Sonny, which he directed. For his entire body of work he has been honored by ShoWest, the Sundance Film Festival, the Montreal World Film Festival, and has received the American Cinemateque Award. You will find his star on the Walk of Fame at 7021, Hollywood Boulevard. The Actor´s Studio is proud to welcome Nicolas Cage (applause).


JAMES LIPTON (host):This is how your father has described you at the age of four days (laughter): Nic opened his eyes and had a peculiar quizical look that gave him a sense that the world was a strange place and he was taking it all in in a very strange way. He was the only child I ever felt I had to introduce myself to. He looked like an alien (laughter). Do you have any rebuttal? (laugher).


NIC: Um. No, I guess that´s all fairly accurate.


HOST: You do?


NIC: I might have been at that point er already in my own world, maybe I was acting like and alien (laughter).


HOST: What was your name at birth?


NIC: Nicholas Coppola


HOST: We began to build the kind of dynastic category of generational histories on this series, with Vanessa Redgrave, Angelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller among others. Your paternal grandfather was


NIC: Carmine Coppola


HOST: And Carmine Coppola was


NIC: My father´s father but he was also the composer of a lot of the music that was in The Godfather.


HOST: And your uncle, your father´s brother is

NIC: Francis Coppola.


HOST: And your aunt?


NIC: Er, Talia Shire.


HOST: It´s rare for someone with your generic code not to be active in the arts. When Francis was in that chair, he expressed great respect for his brother, Auggie, calling him the star of the family. What was your father´s profession as you were growing up?


NIC: My father was an educator, he is also a writer, er he was dean of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. At the time that we were growing up in Long Beach, he was a professor at CalState Long Beach, taught Comparative Literature, and he was always, always very active in the arts, he introduced me to all kinds of books and movies and I mean I was watching Nosferatu and Cabinet of Doctor Caligari at like nine years old.


HOST: I believe your mother was also in the arts.


NIC: Yes, my mother was a modern dancer. And she, I think, informed me a great deal, as well as my father, in terms of my own, you know, way of expressing myself. She was very very er sensitive, a sensitive soul.


HOST: You would describe her as a fragile soul?


NIC: Yes, fragile, sensitive, er that (unintelligible).


HOST: Your father then, he played a primary parental role for periods of time in your youth.


NIC: Yes, there were times when he was raising three boys, you know, on his own. I have a lot of respet for that.


HOST: Yo´ve described on occasion nightmares.


NIC: Uh-huh. Are you thinking about the genie grabbing into the er, the bathroom when I was in Italy and pulling me off the toilet seat? (laughter). Yeah, she was about a hundred feet tall, and she was blonde, and she scared the hell out of me too that´s all part of a very difficult part of my life when I was four (laughter).


HOST: I supposed it´s not surprising given a subject of this seriousness, but a great many of the occupants of that chair have described a very vivid imaginary world when they were kids. Did you have a vivid imaginary world?


NIC: Yes, my imagination was my saviour in many ways, I was able to er, imagine things weren´t bad, or things or that I could go in the backyard and transform myself, and play for hours, into an austronat, or into a, you know, some comic book character, you know, and that I think really was in a lot of ways the sort of self-induced training that I needed to become an actor, because in my opinion acting is imagination.


HOST: Didn´t you win an elementary school contest when you were seven?


NIC: Yeah. I was er singhing the Yellow Submarine (laughter) er, in a talent show contest, and my mother loved this er thing that she would call the bottle voice that I could do where I could make my voice sound very strange like it was on helium. So I sang Yellow Submarine and when I went into, you know, the chorus, I went into the bottle voice and so I won the contest, it was very odd, to this day I don´t know why I won the contest, but I won it for doing this strange voice


HOST: We´re prepared to be the judge of it, you know.


NIC: I haven´t done that voice in a long time, um (taking a sip of water and then pressing his throat with his thumb and middle finger) [in his bottle voice]: Hey, listen, how´re you doing James? (laughter and applause)




HOST: What elementary school did you go to?

NIC: I went to T** (unintelligible for me) elementary school in Long Beach.

HOST: How did things go there?

NIC: Er, not great. I was labelled the class clown, I was always causing pranks and I guess I was expelled on, you know, bad behaviour.

HOST: And where did they send you?

NIC: They sent me to a school called CIS, College Intermediate School, and a lot of other kids in a similar predicament that I found myself in were there as well (laughter).

HOST: At what age did you become infatuated with comic books?

NIC: I think I started to really get into comic books when I was er, you know like around I guess around seven. And it interested me. I liked the colourful aspect of them, I liked the drawings and I liked some of the Greek kind of mythic aspects to the storylines.

HOST: Did you play Superman?

NIC: There was a small little 8 mm movie that I made where I was like a Superman type who was also you know with the (unintelligle to me) but also with a green lantern ring, so there was also a little bit of a mixed of the two (laughter at the movie being shown).

HOST: By far now, the commonest thing on this stage is parental separation. How old were you when your parents actually separated?

NIC: I was twelve.

HOST: To whom was custody granted?

NIC: My father.

HOST: Was it easy for you?

NIC: In a certain way I could say that perhaps there was some relief but I think that all children would love to see, you know, their parents be together.

HOST: How old were you when your father moved you and your brothers to Beverly Hills?

NIC: Twelve or thirteen. We went into Beverly Hills cause he wanted me to take advantage of the high school..

HOST: Beverly Hills High School?

NIC: Yeah.

HOST: What was that like? I pass it sometimes when I´m out there. It looks great, elegant to me.

NIC: It looks like this incredible university really and it´s a high school. We did not have a lot of money, I was still taking the bus to school and these guys were, you know, driving Ferraris and Porches and I didn´t. I felt inadequate.

HOST: By this time your uncle Francis´s carreer was in orbit

NIC: Yeah

HOST: Er, he lived in San Francisco. Did you spent any time with him?

NIC: Yeah, I had great summer vacations with him and with his children, we would go to San Francisco and spend the whole three months there and I remember him being er very nurturing.

HOST: Did you study acting in San Francisco?

NIC: I studied acting at the American Consevatory Theater but it was very brief, I was there for about three months, Bill Ball was still there, and I just got to sort of getting a little bit familiar with some aspects of acting like sense memory and things like that. I was fifteen, and it was the first time I started trying to open the door really to training.

HOST: At that point in your life, who were the acting influences on you?

NIC: On television I liked Clint Eastwood and I liked Sean Connery, and um, I loved Jerry Lewis, and then I discovered Dean when I was fifteen at an arthouse theater called the New Beverly Cinema, and I saw East of Eden, and that just opened me totally up, I was an emotional wrack and I thought, you know, there´s never been anything else, any other influence, no you know, rock song, you know, painting er, you know, any other art form. When I saw that I said that, that´s what I wanna do. I wanna act

HOST: How did your Beverly Hills High career end?

NIC: Well, I remember I wanted to get a part er, in West Side Story which was the play that was gonna happen, and I didn´t get the part and I said You know, that´s the only reason why I´m here, so I´m leaving (laughter).

HOST: How do you feel about these first seventeen years (unintelligible to me)?

NIC: I wouldn´t trade it for the world. I feel it has informed me, and it has shaped me and it´s er, you know it´s really made me who I am.

HOST: We got two occasions to talk about Fast Times at Ridgemont High (applause) with Sean Penn and with Jennifer Jason Leigh.

NIC: I think the part is basically me flipping hamburguers at the back of a McDonald´s or something.

HOST: We got several occasions to talk about Rumble Fish.

NIC: Uh-huh

HOST: How did you find yourself acting with your uncle?

NIC: I was reading other actors to help them get the part, so it wasn´t really an audition process but when he gave me the part I was rather surprised.

HOST: The final starring credit of Rumble Fish is Nicolas Cage. I presume that was when you decided to change your name.

NIC: Yes. I don´t think at first it was met with a lot of enthusiasm. I remember, er when I did change it and then Valley Girl came out and that did fairly well, that I got a telegram from er, Francis Cage and Eleanor Cage and Sofia Cage and all the other Cages (laughter).

HOST: What choices were? It was Cage the first choice, just like that?

NIC: No, I mean I went through my usual diabribe of odd eccentric concept names like Faust (laughter), or Blue, or Mascalzone which is what my aunt which means in Italian bad boy (laughter). I wanted something short and kind of different.

HOST: Is there a Cage somewhere?

NIC: There is a Luke Cage, which was a comic book character, but then in elementary school I went to musica class and I discovered um, John Cage the composer, and I liked some of the sounds and thought he was, you know, kind of scary but adventuresome and that was another reason.

HOST: (Solemnly) From the inception of this series, one the most important and serious artistic themes which have emerged is the matter of tattoos.


HOST: A predilection of mine. Do you by any chance have one?

CAGE: Uh-huh. I have several.

HOST: There´s one in particular that I admire very much.

NIC: Wich one´s that?

HOST: That´s the lizard.

NIC: Oh (smiling) you should see the ones I´ve got now (laughter). I er, tattoos to me are the outward symbol of the inward change within my soul.

HOST: Really?

NIC: Yeah. I feel like whenever I´ve gone through like a major change in my life, and it´s only happened like once every seven years but then I somehow went to having a tattoo. So it does I think it helps in some way.

HOST: The lizard has a top hat on it?

NIC: Yeah. I´ts kind of a show business (unintelligible to me)

HOST: I´ll leave the subject with pain and sorrow. I love it.



HOST: What was your first leading role?

NIC: My first leading role was Valley Girl. And that was a breath of fresh air. I really didn´t fully belive until I changed my name. Because I because I wasn´t ever sure why people wanted or didn´t want to cast me, because of the obvious reasons. And when I went into Valley Girl as Cage and I auditioned, she, Martha Coolidge did not know about my relation. And so when I got the part I thought Wow, you know, maybe I can really do this.

HOST: Valley Girl cost $1.150,000 to make, and it grossed $70,000,000. And the LA Times called Nic a great discovery. With The Cotton Club you were reunited with Francis Ford Coppola.

NIC: I was sort of there trying to play this character who was one of the most feared gangsters in Harlem.

HOST: Based on a real gangster.

NIC: A real gangster named Mad Dog Coll. And I remember at that point I had my heroes like, you know, De Niro and what he´d done with Raging Bull and I was in the mode of living the part, and when you try to live the part of a pshycholitc violent gangster there aren´t a whole lot of places to go (laughter). I went down the.. I think it´s Christopher Streeet in Greenwich Village? And a man was selling remote control cars and I took it and I jumped and I smashed it, and everybody started clearing the street going He´s crazy, he´s out of his mind. And then I remember I gave the guy $50 cause I felt bad, but I needed that people telling me that I was that so that when I went to work I´d belive it.

HOST: You´ve spoken of Charlie Bodell in Peggy Sue Got Married as as a character who haunted you and had to get out. Now, is it true that when Coppola tried to persuade you to do the part you set conditions on it?

NIC: Well, I didn´t like the script. And I said Well, if I do it, would you let me go pretty far out with it? And he goes How far out? I go: Pretty far out. And he says: What do you wanna do? I said: Well I really wanna talk like Pokey from The Gumby show (laughter). Cause Pokey would do that voice, you know, it was like (doing the voice) Next time Gumby, use your own (unintelligible to me) cart. And I thought That´s weird and (laughter) so I don´t know. It´s wacked, but I wanted to do it.

HOST: What was the reaction of the cast and crew?

NIC: I think there was a grand movement to get me fired from that film.

HOST: Is was?

NIC: Oh yeah. That was an interesting time for me because at that point I was thinking a lot about my heroes in painting. And Eduard Much was one of my heores. The Scream. (Edited pause for advertising spots).

HOST: When Holly Hunter was here, she talked about one of my favorite movies far out ever, it´s called Raising Arizona (applause). You´ve spoken of the humility and integrity of this kidnap. How do you build the internal psychological structure of someone like H.I. McDunnough? You write things down, or is it largely instinct?

NIC: I think I´m more about instinct today than I have been. At thant time though I remember I´d get Polaroids taken to me in different possitions for gestures that I thought the character might have. Whenever Randall Tex Cobb is on the motorcycle chasing me, I wanted my eye to start squinting and my body language to start like the hand would start, you know, twisting like, so that like, there was that Jeckyll and Hyde aspect to H.I. McDunnough. So these were some concepts I was coming up in my little notebook.

HOST: Where did you get the hair?

NIC: That was just me, I mean it was standing up like I´d stuck my finger on a plug sock or something, it was just Don Kin (laughter) it was just what happened, I don´t know why.

HOST: How much attention do you give to that physical the hair in particular?

NIC: I always think that anything you can do to recreated an image to help tell the story of the character´s life wardrobe, make-up, hair, it´s almost like working form the outside in.

HOST: I think Holly Hunter is an invariably fascinating and invaluable actor. How did the two of you work together in this movie?

NIC: I loved working with Holly. I think that she was full of surprises. We could get it adventuresome together and take some (edited).

HOST: You followed Raising Arizona with another successful performance in a very, very sucessful movie called Moonstruck (applause).

NIC: Thank you. Cher saw Peggy Sue Got Married and she thought, God bless her, she thought I was right for Ronny Cammareri (laughter).

HOST: Moonstruck is one of the vanishing breed: the genuinely romantic love story. The New Yorker said: Cage is a wonderful romantic clown. How do you feel about romantic films?

NIC: I love romantic films. I am a devoted romantic. And that´s a deep part of my expression. It´s like white light. You have every color in the emotion of love. If you do a romantic film you´re gonna get into situations that are gonna be uplifting but at the same time you can go into a jealous rage or you can go into, you know, moments of real tenderness you can really run the gamut.

(Clip from Moostruck playing)

HOST: Was there a rehersal for the movie?

NIC: Yeah I think we had about two weeks rehearsal.

HOST: Do you like rehearsal?

NIC: I love rehearsal.

HOST: You do.

NIC: I don´t see, you know, any kind of rehearsal can do anything but help.

HOST: What about improvization, do you like that?

NIC: Yeah I do I really like it if it´s right for the role and it works with the director and what he needs, er I think improvization is that´s some of the stuff you can get your best moments out of.

(side note: at this moment we get a glimpse of Norm Golighty and Annette Wolf sitting among the audience)

NIC: I was reading this book by Francis Bacon, called The Brutality of Fact. And a lot of it is accident. And if you´re willing to go into improvization you might come up with an accident that is closer to the truth than the written line.


HOST: There´s nothing unusual about asking an actor what governs his choices. But in Nic´s case, the question looms very large indeed, because your choices have been so daring. What governs, what is the most important criterion for you?

NIC: One of the things that governs the choices is if I haven´t done it before, or if I haven´t seen it before or if it´s fresh, if it´s fresh to me. And if I can hear the notes in the dialogue, if I can sort of hear me voice in the rhythms, or a voice that I might wanna generate. Then it sticks with me. And that helps, that helps make a decision.

HOST: You said: I´ve always tried to find the most far-out choice. And then: let´s see if I can make it work

NIC: Well, that´s sort of a little game I play with myself. Because I still see myselft very much as a student of acting. And I think if I can push myself to make somehing real or believable, or even if it´s surreal but if it´s truthful in some way, um, no matter how far-out the choice then that´s sort of like a personal challenge.

HOST: You said: I´ts my nature to use extreme terms. I´m always black or white. Very hard for me to be grey. I would probably have turned to crime, but I´ve kept it on film. I´m attracted to outlaw characters, some sort of sociopath that can get through the problems, and reach a place of dignity and morality. Do you stand by that?

NIC: I do. I do think that is is me. I still feel like I wear other hats, but um, I do think that I´m drawn to people who are in troubled situations who try to raise above them or find some level of dignity or hope. Not matter how bad it gets.

HOST: On two ocassions we talked about this next film. With Sarah Jessica Parker and with James Caan. We´re back in the world of romance, and comedy. Is that what you do to Honeymoon in Vegas (applause)

NIC: Yeah. Honeymoon in Vegas is one of those experiences that I had where I read the script and I could not stop laughing or hearing my own voice in the lines. Andy Bergman had a way of italizing the lines that made so much sense to me rythmically.

HOST: In 1996 Nicolas Cage won the Academy Awards as Best Actor on a Leading Role for his searing performance as Ben Sanderson in Leaving Las Vegas (applause). How did this role come to you?

NIC: My agent at the time, Ed LaMotte, sent me the script and he said Nicolas I think this is the answer to all of your prayers. Cause I had done a picture that I was not happy with (Note: it was Trapped in Paradise) and I was er, feeling stilted as an actor. And I read it, I thought, This is one of the most cool relationships I´ve ever seen between a mand and a woman. And how much love was there in this sad situation. And Mike Figgis, he was excited about it, and I said, I really wanna do this. And he said, Ok, it´s on. And, you know, he made it for very little money, it was four weeks of shooting, and he did it on Super-16.

HOST: There´s an astonishing footnote to this movie. Who was the authour of the book from which is was taken?

NIC: John O´Brien.

HOST: What happened to John O´Brien?

NIC: He died of drinking. I believe it was a car accident, I´m not exactly sure but he drank himself into oblivion.

HOST: Two weeks after signing the film´s rights.

NIC: Oh yeah.

HOST: Since this films was in fact a suicide note, did you feel an exceptional obligation to the man who had written it?

NIC: I think I even felt more than that. I felt, I don´t wanna get you know, too metaphysical on you, but there were strange things that were happening while I was making the movie, um, like I instinctively knew what kind of watch he had and I went and got it, and knew he would had driven a BMW, even though I wouldn´t know that. When his family came to visit on the set, they said that it seemed like he was there somehow. I never met the man, so I couldn´t, I coudn´t role-model or take an impression of him. So I felt like there was some possibility that maybe, who knows, cause it´s such a strange coincidence.

HOST: Alcoholics have been a very rich sourse for filmmakers, for actors, for writers.

NIC: Yes. I never drink when I act. Um, but I was gonna try to incorporate in some scenes er, actual er, drinking. And so I had this guy er, Tony Dingman, who´s a poet in San Francico, and you know he was a drunk, he´s not a drunk anymore. And he was with me the whole time, he was my drinking coach (laughter). So in the scene at the bar where I´m freaking out I´m really drunk.

HOST: You are.

NIC: Um, (unintelligble to me) and I remember I was crawling after I shot that scene, and I think I was screaming um when I pulled pushed the table over I am his father, I am his father.

HOST: Why does he say I am his father?

NIC: That was like a sort of a primal scream that, you know, came out of some part of me that I that wasn´t in the script. And I thinkg that situation was, it was just pictures of like a wife, you know, and picutres of a boy

HOST: We don´t know anything else.

NIC: Yeah. So

HOST: But they´re gone.

NIC: They´re gone. And I think, maybe that was like one seed that might have caused his pain.


HOST: A question I always enjoy asking: What was the Oscar experience like?

NIC: I think I was, you know, going around in circles, going around in loops in my head, I didnt. I didn´t know what was gonna happen, I had gone to different um, yo know awards dinners and whatnot for different things, and I, I was starting to get kind of exhausted by it. When it actually happened I just felt like this tremendous wave of relief, of just just like a I just remember like all the air came out of me and I suddenly relaxed. But it was such a long road getting there.

HOST: With The Rock, Face/Off and Con Air you hitted the Hollywood stratosphere action. You dominated the summers of 1996, 97 and I assume that too, was a carefully considered and conscious decision.

NIC: It was one of those moves where I was doing something that I was told I cannot do. That I would not be able to be taken seriously in an action genre. And when people tell me you can´t do something then it compels me to do it.

HOST: In Face/Off you and John Travolta had to perform in a monster-conjuring act, in a real sense of course you had to play Travolta, and he had to play you. Tell me how the two of you worked on those two roles together.

NIC: I would get videotapes and he would get videotapes and we would study each other´s performances. And I remember watching a lot of the movies he had made and trying to get his nuances down. And then when I did the frist week shooting I sort of was developing Castor Troy, he was on the set that day, and I remember him saying something to me like Oh, as I was doing that head spinning thing in a priest outfit, he says Oh are we gonna be doing THAT kind of acting? (laughter).

HOST: In Bringing Out the Dead your worked with Martin Scorsese. Tell us about being directed by Scorsese.

NIC: He was somebody that was so passionate about film. Probably the most passionate person I´ve ever met about film. I see him still with the thist of a student, you know, wanting to get more information, wanting to see as many movies as possible. Like he really couldnt get enough of it.

HOST: As an actor, what do you want ideally from a director?

NIC: I really appreciate it when a director says, or just lets me have two or three takes on my own, so I can come into it with my own instincts and my own whatever I´ve been building, whatever I´ve been working on. And then, I´d like to have the sculpting process or the.. you know, trying different things, and I´m always open to that.

HOST: I believe that over the years you´ve built an enormous comic book collection.

NIC: Yeah.

HOST: What has happened to it?

NIC: I sold it. I was just ready to move on.

HOST: It´s a matter of a public record, I believe. How much did they sell for?

NIC: They sold for about one point six or seven million.

HOST: Whom do you play in Adaptation?

NIC: (applause) Oh. Thank you. I play er, Charlie Kaufman.

HOST: Who wrote Adaptation?

NIC: Charlie Kaufman.

HOST: What had he previsouly written?

NIC: Being Johsn Malkovitch

HOST: And who in this film is Charlie Kaufman?

NIC: Charlie Kaufman is a man who is beleaguered with massive low self-esteem and insecurities, he´s a man who´s trying to write an adaptation of a novel called The Orchid Thief, which is a book about flowers, and he´s really struggling with this adaptation. And ultimately injects himself into the script.

HOST: As a last resort.

NIC: As a last resort. Which, from what I understand from Charlie is what the process was like for him. He did have an epiphany and put himself into the movie.

HOST: In the movie Charlie has a twin brother. What is his name an who played him?

NIC: It was Donald Kaufman and I´m playing him.

HOST: How is Donald different from Charlie?

NIC: Donald really very positive. He likes who he is in life. Charlie is looking into hikmself to try to find somehing that could be naked or honest or artistic, whereas Donald is really looking for the formula structure in his script. They´re both scrennwriters.

HOST: How do Charlie and Donald come to collaborate on a screen play?

NIC: Charlie was in a place where he felt that he wasn´t to be able to make his deadline, and his agents says Well, why don´t you let Donald help you write your script?

HOST: (unintelligible to me), how did you two play those scenes? (laughter).

NIC: I would put my Charlie clothes on and I would do my side as Charlie, ok we got that, and then I would go back and change into Donald´s wardrobe, Donald would have a better posture and a better attitude about himself, and I´d put an earpiece in my ear Spike would set up like a light stand and a tennis ball and put Xs all over the walls, and I would start acting getting in the mindset of Donald with the tennis ball, and this would happen four or five times a day.


HOST: Does the real life Charlie Kaufman have a twin?

NIC: That information is classified (laughter).

HOST: To whom is the screenplay credited?

NIC: It´s credited to Charlie and Donald Kaufman.

HOST: Did Charlie Kaufman, the real Charlie Kaufman, who does or does not have a twin brother, ever come to the set?

NIC: Yes. Charlie was on the set.

HOST: Did you find that inhibiting or freeing?

NIC: Well, I have to first say that I found that a little inhibiting but anyway after a while I calmed down, we worked it out and he was back on set.

HOST: But maybe you never met Charlie.


HOST: Maybe it was Donald (laughter)

NIC: Well but no, Charlie Charlie has a very specific demeanor, I´m sure it was Charlie (laughter).

HOST: (looking at him silently)

NIC: It was Charlie, I know it was. Charlie, he doesn´t.. you know.

HOST: (still looking at him, smiling)

NIC: This is one of those, like, circles that we can get into like, (unintelligible to me) or something.

HOST: This is why it´s a terrific movie! You´ve taken a step that many actors think about, many actors talk about, and very few acctors actually do. You´ve gone into directing. What made you decide that the time had come?

NIC: I had a script I had optioned called Sonny, which was a movie that I was gonna make fifteen years ago or more, to play the part in, but I knowing I had wanted to make it, my partner at Saturn Films, Norm Golighty also suggested Well maybe now´s the time to direct. And we had a week of preproduction and I said Ok, let´s go and

HOST: One week of preproduction?

NIC: Yeah we went to preproduction in a week and then whole process was about eight weeks.

HOST: How do you prepare to direct your first movie?

NIC: I just sort of had this faith that I was gonna (unintelligible to me) and hope that, you know, the twenty years before as an actor would inform me in some way. The philosophy I had was that I was gonna rely on instinct, and not to worry too much about where I put the camera. Just get some suggestions and look at it and then feel it and, and Do I like that particular color there?, Do I want pair there? And that really liberated me.

HOST: Who plays Sonny?

NIC: Sonny is played by James Franco. I met him in my office and I knew right away he was Sonny. He had all that emotion in his fingertips and was so passionate about it. That´s what had me right there.

HOST: Who else is in the movie?

NIC: Brenda Blethyn, who I adore, loved her Secrets and Lies, and I thought how interesting to see Brenda play this sort of grand dame of the South, I wanted to hear her with the accent,

HOST: A madam!

NIC: Yes, a madam.

HOST: Who plays Carol?

NIC: Mena Suvari. And Mean has this heartbreaking quality about her. What I needed in that character was somebody you could care about.

HOST: Then there was that very peculiar performance in it. Now, this fellow in yellow? At the bar? He´s called Acid Yellow.

NIC: Yes.

HOST: And who played that part?

NIC: I played the part. I had to commit to doing a cameo in the movie, which I really did not wanna do. And I had this jacket that I bought a couple of years ago in an auction, which was Liberace´s jacket. And I bought it for two hundred dollars and I decided to, you know, weat the jacket and sort of disguise myselft out of the picture.

HOST: And who was your D.P.?

NIC: Barry Markovitz. He did Sling Blade and All the Pretty Horses, and he just said (doing his voice): Nicky, it´s gotta be about the performance, don´t let the camera distract from the performance.

HOST: We begin our classroom session by a questionnaire by me favorite host ever Bernard Pivot. Nic, what´s your favorite word?

NIC: My favorite word is grace.

HOST: What is your least favorite word?

NIC: Stop

HOST: What turns you on?

NIC: Er, driving.

HOST: What turns you off?

NIC: Traffic (laughter)

HOST: Perfect sense. What sound or noise do you love?

NIC: Once I heard a sound of a hollow pipe that was in the ground, I was a boy walking to school, I put my ear against the pipe and I heard the wind whistling through and I loved that.

HOST: What sound or noise do you hate?

NIC: I´m very sensitive to sound actually. When my parrot shrieks I I have a problem with that (laughter). The sound of a shrieking parrot.

HOST: What is your favorite curse word?

NIC: Horse****.

HOST: What profession other than yours would you like to attemp?

NIC: Sometimes I have this whimsical idea that I could be a priest (laughter)

HOST: What profession would you like not to participate in?

NIC: I don´t think I wanna be a lawyer.

HOST: If he happened to exist, what would you like God hear say when you arrived to the pearly gates?

NIC: Bless you for trying (laughter)

HOST: Here´s to you

NIC: Thank you.

and here is the final part, the Q & A with the audience:


ANCHOR: Here´s to you

NIC: Thank you.


NIC: Hi.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: My name is (unintelligible for me... Billy?), I´m a first year actor. I was wondering, what you consider your weaknesses right now, and what you´re doing to try and correct that.

NIC: I think, right now, um... as a director at least, I´m... I would like to try to find a way to get more familiar with the camera, and find a way to make the camera move in a different fashion that flows a little more like water... and I´d like to try to strengthen that. Um... And as an actor I think that I just wanna continue trying to become a... um.... well.... more and more naked as an artist,more and more truthful. I remember to hear Jim Morrison once say that he never really wrote a song that conveyed pure hapiness, and that he´d like to try that. And it resonated with me, and I think that I´d like to try to be able, if I ever could, to play a character that conveyed pure hapiness, whatever that is.




NIC: Hi.


AUDICENCE MEMBER: My name is Marisol and I had.... from what I´ve gathered you approach acting very realistically. And I was wondering when you´re experiencing... um, the emotions, or playing like a psychopathic character, how is it that you can deal with these things in your life, and just what gives you the strenght to do that?


NIC: I think the hardest thing, and probably the reasong why I´m afraid of comedies so much, is that when there´s pain in your life and you are expected to be funny or be playing a feel good character, that that really is a trial. And a lot of what I do in terms of my own instrument is, kind of figure out where I am and inject those feelings into the role, and if the role is a role where the person is suffering I´ll think about something that recalls something in my life that helps get to that point. Sometimes, it´s also good to just sort of let the feelings of the day, or the day you had before, inform your performance. Just let that if you´re feeling tired, well, let the character be tired. And if you´re feeling, um, silly, maybe it´s OK to be laughing in the scene, you know? Er, I think the important thing is to try to break as many rules as you can.


MARISOL: Do you feel that you have to have a strong sense of who you are?


NIC: As actors we don´t have the ability to hide behind an instrument. We can´t just hide behind a guitar or hide behind a typwriter. We are our own instrument. And, so, invevitably, with the work that you do, in your class or in your experience, you´re going to become very, very familiar with your instrument, to the point where you´re not gonna have to think about it any more. It´s gonna do the work for you, it´s gonna know for you. And and that´s just part of the process of doing enough, that it becomes your friend.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, I´m Isabella, I´m a first year actor.


NIC: Hi.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Um, I have seen Adaptation, which is wonderful. Um, it´s a work where reality tends to just blends with um, the imaginary world. How do you separate your own work and your life from the imaginary, um, when they sort of tend to blur?


NIC: I think in a way it´s a combination of both. I mean, I really believe that our strongest tool as actors is our imagination. And if your instruments is intact, and it is, it is for all of us, ´cause we all feel as people, you can actually feel for other people in the world and bring that into your work as well. And there´s something kind of graceful about that, there´s something kind of beneficial, or compassionate, or giving about that as well.







Status: Offline
Posts: 6722
Date: 2:45 AM, 04/11/11
RE: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

Oh, this is really wonderful to have, Lula! I so enjoy this interview with Nic and had watched it quite a few times, yet in reading this now it all seems new and endlessly appealing to me. I know I have said this before, but I really love hearing what Nic has to say about his roles and his artistic process, fascinating! Thanks!



Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

Status: Offline
Posts: 8403
Date: 11:08 AM, 04/11/11
RE: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

All thanks to Mara's hardwork there Lady True!

I agree, there is something wonderful in having transcripts, the written word has it's own particular way of weaving it's magic..though I too am extremely glad I did have the chance to watch the full interview a few times before it was removed from youtube. starry





Status: Offline
Posts: 6722
Date: 3:11 PM, 04/11/11
RE: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

Yes indeed, thanks to Mara, I should have said that before!



Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

Status: Offline
Posts: 8403
Date: 8:54 PM, 05/02/11
Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

the complete INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO with Nic!




I am not sure how long it will be up but enjoy while you can..

with huge thanks to SirPsychoFlea! :starry:





Status: Offline
Posts: 6722
Date: 12:50 AM, 05/03/11
RE: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

This is great, I watched it and enjoyed it just as much, if not more. I love this interview. Thanks Lula!



Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

Status: Offline
Posts: 8403
Date: 12:55 AM, 05/03/11
RE: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

You are very welcome Lady Trueheart, I was thrilled to find it!

It is such a timeless interview, very much deserving of a top slot in our 'Vintage Cage' collection!





NIColicious Enchantress

Status: Offline
Posts: 5669
Date: 8:10 PM, 01/07/12
RE: Nic on 'Inside The Actor's Studio'

WOW! What an NIColicious vid and a great transcript of it! Really amazing insights! Thank you, Lady T. and Lula for posting this amazing vid, and thanks to Dame Ragnelle for doing such an awesome job with the transcript of it!starry


"When you think about magic, it is imagination plus willpower focused in such a way that you can create a conscious effect in the material world..."

Nicolas Cage

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