While promoting his new film, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” Cage sat down with Wired to answer the Internet’s burning questions. Given his decade-spanning career — not to mention his highly-publicized exploits — you can imagine just how much the Internet wants to know. Fortunately, enough fans have asked Google why exactly Cage changed his name all those years ago, and now those fans finally have an answer.
It was actually Cage’s experience on the set of “Fast Times” that inspired the change. The 1982 film was only a few years removed from Coppola’s seminal film “Apocalypse Now,” and it was just one of a few films that others referenced whenever Cage was around.
“People would not stop saying things like, ‘I love the smell of Nicolas in the morning,'” Cage told Wired, “because of ‘Apocalypse Now,’ and Robert Duvall saying, ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning.'” He continued:
“It made it hard to work, and I decided, ‘I don’t need this,’ so I changed it to Cage. It’s a combination of Luke Cage from Marvel comics, who was a character I liked, also named Power Man, and John Cage, the avant-garde composer. Speaks volumes about everything I’ve been up to ever since.”
Cage may be a bit of a nepotism baby on paper, but he’s more than proven his merits in the 30-plus years since his “Fast Times” debut. The Coppola name comes with a hefty legacy, and all sorts of expectations — but if his varied filmography is any indication, Cage doesn’t seem overly concerned with legacy. The actor has always taken a very individualistic approach to film; he treats his career less like a body of work than a moment-to-moment exploration of what feels good in the moment, and it’s hard to ignore just how refreshing that is.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is now playing in theaters.