‘The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent’ Director Tom Gormican & Writer Kevin Etten Discuss The Magic Of Nicolas Cage [The Discourse Podcast]

Director Tom Gormican and co-writer Kevin Etten found themselves suddenly out of work when their sitcom “Ghosted” ended up on Fox’s chopping block. Determined to work together again, the pair began brainstorming ideas for what they could possibly do next. Shortly after that, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” was born unto the world, thus granting us all a chance to revel in the career of Nicolas Cage together.

The film follows a fictionalized version of Nicolas Cage (played by Nic Cage), who is in a bit of a slump in his career and at home when he receives a $1 million offer to attend a wealthy fan’s (Pedro Pascal) birthday party. During a conversation on our The Discourse podcast, director Tom Gormican shared how the project started from just a tiny idea that made him smile.

READ MORE: ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ Review: A Triumphant Comeback For Nicolas Cage, Who Also Never Left [SXSW]

“You know it was just a kernel of an idea, doing a movie about Nic playing Nic and being invited to a superfan’s birthday party, which was, like, depressing to him, was an idea that just made me laugh,” Gormican said. “There’s something about Nic that just inspires a smile on people’s faces. It’s why he’s transcended being an actor, and he’s sort of become this institution.”

And while the idea made Tom and Kevin smile, it’s one thing to write a script about the concept, but it’s a whole other ball of wax to actually get Nicolas Cage to be in the film. For a long time, it looked like it would never happen, which led Gormican and Etten to consider other absurd ideas to make the film work.

“At some point in the process when we really were getting close, but it felt like it wasn’t going to happen. I need to pay a mortgage at some point, so Tom was sort of like, ‘Yeah, maybe there is a different idea,’” Etten shared. “But really, when push came to shove, we were like, ‘It doesn’t feel right without Nic.’ I will say the only idea that one of our friends had that was very funny was the idea of, like, Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis playing Nicolas Cage in full Cage prosthetics. That was the only thing where it was sort of like, well, OK – I would go see that!”

Obviously, Cage finally decided to do the film, and one of the most enjoyable, career-celebrating thrill rides in recent memory was underway. The film is filled to the brim with nods and references to Cage’s work and even includes a song that Nic Cage wrote himself, which Gormican and Etten shared was not a part of the script.

“As scripted, he was to sing ‘November Rain’ by Guns N’ Roses which we could neither afford nor could he sing. So, he called, and he was like, ‘I actually wrote something!’ And I was like, ‘Oh! That’s cool. Do you play the piano?’ And he was like, ‘No. But I’m going to.’ And so, he played this very simple, nuts song, and it made us laugh.” Gormican said.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” hits Theaters on Friday, April 22nd. You can listen to the entire, laugh-filled conversation below:

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