Nicolas Cage Says He Feels 'Very Blessed Right Now': I'm Doing 'Some of the Best Work' of My Life

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent actor also tells PEOPLE why he doesn't take himself "too seriously"

Nicolas Cage
Photo: Emma McIntyre/FilmMagic

It's only getting better for Nicolas Cage.

At 58, the actor tells PEOPLE he feels he's doing some of his "best work" with performances that rival the Oscar winner's earliest career highs.

In his new film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, out Friday, Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself, one who's constantly seeking the next big role to put himself back on the map. Throughout the comedy, Cage contends with a younger version of himself: So, what would he tell his real-life early-career self if he could?

"I would say it's gonna be alright," he says. "I would say that your dreams — the real Nicky, the Nicky that watched Midnight Cowboy for the first time on a funky old television in Louise Vogelsang, my grandmother's house and had his heartstrings pulled and his heart torn out — I would say that we're going to make some movies down the road that you're going to have that feeling again."

He adds, "I'm also gonna say that no matter what people think, whatever the media wants to say or they want to marginalize your so-called 'direct-to-video' movies, you're going to do some of the best work of your life in the last 10 years that will hold up to any of the first 30 years."

"I'll put Mandy next to Face/Off. I'll put Pig next to Leaving Las Vegas. It goes on: Bad Lieutenant, Joe," says Cage. "So for me, I'm feeling very blessed right now."

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Pedro Pascal and Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

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Massive Talent director Tom Gormican says it took some convincing to get Cage on board for the project, which also stars Pedro Pascal, Lily Sheen, Tiffany Haddish, Neil Patrick Harris, Ike Barinholtz and Sharon Horgan. A personal letter he and co-screenwriter Kevin Etten penned to Cage "helped get him over the line."

"[We] made it clear that our intentions were to celebrate his vast body of work. We talked to him about excelling in every genre of film. He's done them all equally well, and we thought if we pull this movie off correctly, he'll be able to do all of those different genres in one film," says Gormican. "I think that really got him going."

Cage says he's always been one to not take himself too seriously.

"I always say to myself, 'I never had a career, only work.' What I mean by that is sometimes — and I won't mention names — but when you get into this career-minded perception of one's self it can be a slippery slope, and it can lead to things where you start believing in your own mythos and you start taking yourself way too seriously," explains Cage.

"You become pretentious and then you fall into the realm of diva, and that's when mistakes happen in your personal life and on camera."

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is in theaters Friday.

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