Round about the time an acquaintance of mine got a Nicolas Cage tattoo – those mournfully stretched features and wide, restless eyes eerily emblazoned on her forearm – I realised that his career, already one of many corners, had turned another. Having moved through the phases of indie oddball, Oscar-winning serious thespian and multiplex marquee name, he seemed at risk of becoming a direct-to-DVD trash king, an ignoble joke.
If there’s any joke here, however, Cage and his loyal cult have decided to be in on it. Cue a 2021 comeback plan that includes playing himself in the forthcoming action comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, playing Joe Exotic in the inevitable Tiger King dramatisation, and hosting Netflix’s quirky new documentary series History of Swear Words. The show does what it says on the tin, albeit not in great depth or detail: its real raison d’être is getting Cage to swear with lavish, regal dignity, and he holds up his end of the bargain.