Icons / December 2017

National Treasure: Nicolas Cage

In an exclusive interview with The Rake, the Oscar winner talks to Nick Scott about tripping with felines, Las Vegas’s tragic night, and how he has been in on the joke this entire time.

Brown corduroy sport coat and navy shirt, Ralph Lauren Purple Label; navy pocket handkerchief, Anderson & Sheppard. Lock & Co. Hatters fedora and Rolex Daytona, property of Nicolas Cage.

"I didn’t know he had the eight-ball of cocaine strapped to his leg! That was news to me! And if I had known that, I never would have grabbed the intercom and told everybody I was the captain and that I was losing control of the aircraft because I wasn’t feeling well… ”

At 53, Nicolas Cage’s voice still takes on a mischievous cadence when he talks about his youthful follies. This particular yarn concerns the time he and Charlie Sheen pulled off a stunt that today would see them quickly swapping their civvies for orange jumpsuits. “It was just kids goofing off — I was in my early twenties and so was Charlie,” Cage says. “But yeah, I did that, and the plane was not losing control — it was perfectly steady — and understandably the captain was very angry with me. And when we landed there were airport police there to greet us at the door, and I talked us out of it and they finally let us go. But when I got into the car with Charlie in San Francisco, and he showed me what was wrapped around his ankle with a rubber band… ”

Another of Cage’s memorable anecdotes today begins, ominously enough, with Tom Waits, for reasons Cage has never quite ascertained, giving him a bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms. “Tom was one of my best friends for many years — we had one of those relationships that was full of mischief — and for some reason he gave me a bag of mushrooms and I didn’t even know what to do with these things. So they were in my refrigerator and they were dried out, but my cat, Lewis, whenever I opened the refrigerator, would jump in and try to grab them. I don’t know why he was so attracted to them — it was like catnip! He really wanted those mushrooms. One time he got some and got into them, and I chased him, but he grabbed some with his mouth and started eating them. So I thought, ‘Well, I’d better do them with him, I guess’. So we did that and it was kind of an amazing experience. I remember I was in bed and he was on the nightstand staring at me, and I was staring back at him, and we could not stop looking at each other. We had this, like, deep connection like we were brothers or something. I haven’t done it again since — it was a one-off.”

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