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Nicolas Cage Explains The Insane Process Behind His Oscar-Winning 'Leaving Las Vegas' Performance

Nicolas Cage is something of an enigma. Is he a good actor? Is he a bad actor? The question has been hotly debated since his bizarro, breakout performance in 1987’s 'Moonstruck.'

One of the strongest points for the "good actor" camp is the fact that Cage did, in fact, win an Oscar for his turn as a suicidal drunk in the 1995 film 'Leaving Las Vegas.' In a recent video for GQ the actor explained his process for getting into the character.

While the performance may have displayed some uncharacteristically subtle, nuanced acting for the notoriously histrionic thespian, his preparation was pure Nic Cage.

"I had seen all the great alcoholic performances," he said. He explained that while he took a little something from all of them, he really wanted to go that extra mile. So, what do you do? You hire a drinking coach.

He said that his cousin suggested that he approach actor Tony Dingman, who was an alcoholic at the time, so that he could "hire him and just watch him."

"I had Tony on the set with me all the time, and the poor guy, he’d be curled up in a fetal position in my trailer as I was playing bongos, because I was trying to get some sort of syncopated rhythm, some sort of music for the character."

Cage also went on to say the film was only a four week shoot, and "thank God," because he "really wanted to be hammered" for several key scenes in the movie, including the famous freakout in the casino.

As Laurence Oliver reportedly once said, "My dear boy, why don’t you just try acting?"

Watch Nicolas Cage explain this performance and others in the full video below.


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