Nicolas Cage: From Hollywood to Somerset
- Credit: submitted
Bernard Bale talks to Hollywood A-lister Nicolas Cage about his decision to make our county his home
Globe-trotting multi-millionaire movie stars have the entire world as their playground and that makes it all the more amazing to find an A-list box office draw like Nicolas Cage setting up home in Somerset.
“I am a self-confessed Anglophile,” says Nicolas. “I love everything about England; the history, the people, the countryside, the culture – you name it I love it. I love seeing places like Buckingham Palace and all those other fantastic buildings which are steeped in history and culture. I love the whole concept of the Royal Family.
“As an American you want to see all those things when you come to Britain but I wanted more than that, I wanted to live among all these great treasures. I wanted to be a part of it so I looked for somewhere to call home here.
“When I looked at Somerset I just fell in love with the county. It has so much to offer; great countryside, great towns, great people and, of course, it has Glastonbury too.”
You just know that Nicolas Cage really means what he says. He was born and raised in Long Beach, California with a famous surname – Coppola. His father was a professor of literature and his uncle the famous film director Francis Ford Coppola. The early seeds of his affinity with England were clear since his mother was of British descent.
Nicolas wanted an acting career which is why he changed his name rather than trade of the status already achieved by his uncle.
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“I wanted people to notice me or not because of what I could do, not because of who I was related to. So I became Nicolas Cage, would-be actor and popcorn seller. “Yes, that’s what I did while I was waiting to earn from acting. I had studied theatre at Beverley Hills High School but I dropped out because I wanted to just get on with my career rather than just learning about something that might never happen.
“So I sold popcorn at a theatre because I thought that might help but what really helped was when I was asked to read a script with actors who were auditioning for a movie called Rumble Fish. My uncle was directing the movie and someone gave him a nudge and suggested he gave me a part. I got another part in Valley Girl in which i was a punk rocker. Can you imagine that – me, a punk rocker? I enjoyed that actually. The second movie came out first and my career was on its way.”
Nicolas Cage obviously enjoys his work and has no idea what he might have done had he not made it as an actor.
“Maybe I would have been the world’s best popcorn seller,” he says. “I don’t really know what would have happened. I just know that I have had a great career so far and I hope it goes on for a long time. I often play odd characters but really I am just an ordinary guy, quite boring really.
“I like comic-strip hero books which is why I chose the name Cage – after Luke Cage. Also my second son Kal-el is so named after Superman who is one of my greatest heroes.
“Elvis is another of my greatest heroes. So, like I said, I am just an ordinary guy who happens to be an actor and loves living in Somerset.”
He does have a home in Las Vegas, which he likes, but he prefers the peace of Somerset when he is not filming.
“Las Vegas is great – for night time,” he says. “There is so much to do there and it is vibrant, lights everywhere, music and showtime. It is the party place but it is not the place to put your feet up.
“Also, I actually feel more at home in England than in America because I do not like what was done to the Native Americans. I always see America as really belonging to the Native Americans. Even though I’m American I still feel like a visitor in my own country.
“It is very different when I’m in England. I know I’m technically still a visitor but I do feel a connection with my ancestry here. “
It is thought that Nicolas Cage was introduced to Somerset by another Hollywood fan of the county – Johnny Depp. The two actors have been friends for many years.
After seeing Somerset Nicolas just felt that he had to have a home here and bought several properties including Midford Castle and a Georgian townhouse in Bath. He also bought a cottage in the village of Baltonsborough not far from Glastonbury and that is where he decided to call ‘home’.
“I just found Somerset irresistable,” he admitted. “I enjoy the peacefulness of the area. I love the forests of magnificent trees and those beautiful rolling hills. I like the seaside too. I have been to Weston Super Mare – what a great name. It is lovely and everything that you hear about when people talk of the English seaside.
“When I am here I like to become as English as possible. I have English clothes, I go and buy jams and cheeses from the farmers markets and I have grown to love bangers and mash and, of course, fish and chips.
“I like shopping in the various towns around Somerset, seeing the different shops and also enjoying the architecture. Every building has a story to tell. That is what makes England so special and Somerset has everything you could possibly want.
“Bath is beautiful and places like Frome are just great. Every town has its own speciality interest. I have come to love it.
“I like to wander around and some people recognise me which is OK. I don’t mind stopping for a chat, it is part of living here.”
Of course, Nicolas has to disappear frequently to pursue his film career. He is constantly in demand and has several films due to be screened during the next year.
“I get back here as much as I can though and I love to spend Christmas here,” he says.
“I was honoured when I was asked to switch on the Bath Christmas lights.
“I love it when there is a Dickensian theme at Christmas – it is like Christmas cards being brought to life.
“I really cannot think of anywhere in the world I would rather be in winter, or summer, than here in Somerset, England.”