The Tao of Nicolas Cage: The Perfect Pairing

By  · Published on January 29th, 2017

The world needs a Nicolas Cage – Quentin Tarantino team-up.

For this week’s Tao of Nicolas Cage I decided to take a slightly different approach. I’m taking a little break from talking about movies Cage has already done and instead I’m focusing my energy on what I’d like to see him do in the future. This isn’t entirely new territory for me as I previously wrote about why Cage should eventually find his way into the Fast & Furious franchise. Today I don’t have a specific film franchise in mind but rather a director I’d love to see Cage partner with and that director is none other than Quentin Tarantino.

“Quentin Tarantino and I, the two of us could really do something quite special. But I remain positive and hopeful that it will eventually happen,” Cage told Newsweek in a 2015 interview. This was music to my ears.

For years the idea of a Cage – Tarantino pairing has excited me but it has mostly been this film nerd fantasy that only lived inside my head (and I assume the heads of everyone else). Hearing Cage actually say he wants to work with Tarantino makes me feel all kinds of fuzzy inside.

Both artists pride themselves on taking their work very seriously. To some that may be much more obvious when it comes to QT because he does have the higher batting average but there are a couple important factors to consider. Cage has a larger body of work and with that comes more opportunities for misfires. But even the Cage films that are largely considered to be misfires serve as examples of an actor that puts his all into every performance. Plus as an actor Cage doesn’t have as much impact on a film’s final product the same way a director like Tarantino does, so if you dislike a film you have to judge his performance on it’s own.

Tarantino gets performances out of actors that are very large and include a lot of scenery chewing. Look at his two most recent films and the characters portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. In both Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight Jackson delivers performances that in most other films would be consider wildly over-the-top and out of place, much like Cage roles are often viewed. Of course Jackson is similar to Cage and always goes big no matter the film but pick anyone else in a Tarantino movie and you’ll find something Cage-like. Tim Roth in The Hateful Eight, Michael Madsen in Kill Bill and Reservoir Dogs, these are all parts and performances that feel Cage-esque. QT always pushes his actors to the limit and for Cage that’s something that comes naturally.

Simply put Cage would be perfect in a Tarantino movie. It would be the ultimate platform to allow him to truly unleash his special brand of crazy without it feeling misplaced. Cage is a powerful brush that only the best of the best can truly harness and paint with. So let Tarantino paint and I’d be anything that the final picture would result in a masterpiece.

The duo also share a number of similar personality traits. They’re both Hollywood outsiders of sorts that have somehow succeeded within Hollywood despite being a couple of weirdos that typically go against the grain. You can likely attribute that success to the love and respect they both have for classic films. Neither one is afraid to speak their mind and criticism isn’t likely to phase either of them. They do what they want, results be damned. They’re punk rock.

And they both seem to have some sort of obsession with odd jackets. That has to count for something.

Of course there could be complications if the two worked together. Tarantino is know for his colorful dialogue and it’s clear he thoroughly considers and thinks out every line he writes. What he puts down on the script he expects his actors to read. Cage on the other hand likes to be a little more loose and free. He views a script as more of a guide. It’ll eventually get you to the destination but you choose the route. It’s very likely that Cage would want to add his own flavor to a Tarantino script and that may not go over too well.

Personally I think Cage and Tarantino could do wonders together. There’d probably be some head-butting and there would certainly have to be some give and take but ultimately I think these two masters of their respective crafts would come to an agreement and create something wonderful.

Tarantino received a lot of credit for reviving John Travolta’s career with Pulp Fiction and perhaps he could do something similar with Cage. Of course if you’ve really been paying attention Cage’s career doesn’t need reviving but audiences could use a reminder to let them know what they’re missing out on and Tarantino would be one of hell of a reminder. At the very least a pairing of Tarantino and Cage would create a lot of interest. It would be a big deal.

Here’s to hoping it happens and hopefully it happens soon because as Tarantino has made very clear he’s not making too many more movies.

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Chris Coffel is a contributor at Film School Rejects. He’s a connoisseur of Christmas horror, a Nic Cage fanatic, and bad at Rocket League. He can be found on Twitter here: @Chris_Coffel. (He/Him)