Hey, if you’re not going to earn any money for a film you’ve worked on, it’s pretty handy to win an Oscar as consolation.
As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened to the one and only Nicolas Cage over almost 30 years ago. For his enthralling performance as a suicidal alcoholic in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas, Cage won the Academy Award for Best Actor.
The drama’s director, Mike Figgis, revealed on the It Happened in Hollywood podcast that the actor was promised $100,000 to star in the film (as per The Hollywood Reporter). The money, however, has still not been forthcoming.
“[Lumiére Pictures] said the film never went into profit,” Figgis explained. “Whatever. I mean, my career then took off again, and the next film I did, I got really well paid. And within a year, [Nic] was earning $20 million a film, so that was good.”
All’s well that ends well then. It also sounds like the production company may have been telling porkies, because Leaving Las Vegas earned $49.8 million at the global box office on a reported budget of jus $3.5 million
The unlikely success of the film was something Cage alluded to during his Oscars speech. “Three and a half million dollar budget, some 16mm film stock thrown in, and I’m holding one of these,” he said at back then. “I know it’s not hip to say it, but I just love acting, and I hope that there’ll be more encouragement for alternative movies where we can experiment and fast forward into the future of acting.”
A similar story emerged last month when Jon Hamm revealed that he wasn’t paid for his hilarious cameo in 2011’s Bridesmaids, merely acting in the film as a favour to Kristen Wiig.
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“I did that movie before there was a part, before there was a script, I said ‘yes’ to it. And [my] agents went, ‘Oh, well, shit. How do we, you know, ask for money?’ And I was like, ‘Don’t worry about it. It just, let me let go have fun with friends,’” the actor said on SiriusXM’s Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw.
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