American actor and filmmaker, Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola on January 7, 1964 in Long Beach, California. He is known for his starring roles in films like Leaving Las Vegas (1995), The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997), Next (2007) and so many others.
The nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola, he didn’t want to stand on his uncle’s laurels so, as an avid comic book fan, he changed his name to Nicholas Cage, inspired in part by the Marvel Comics superhero Luke Cage. Nicholas wanted to build his own career and he succeeded in doing so and had a host of roles by the late 1980s.
Cage says he began acting because he “wanted to be James Dean. I saw him in Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden. Nothing affected me—no rock song, no classical music—the way Dean affected me in Eden. It blew my mind. I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do’.” At fifteen years old he tried to convince his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, to give him a screen test, telling him “I’ll show you acting.” His outburst was met with “silence in the car”. By this stage of his career, Coppola had already directed Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman and Robert De Niro.
He initially studied theater at Beverly Hills High School, but dropped out of school when he was seventeen. He secured a bit part in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), but most of his scene was cut and this lead to a job selling popcorn at the Fairfax Theater, a job he thought would be his only route to a movie career. He was, however, given the job of reading lines with actors auditioning for his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola’s, crime, romance drama Rumble Fish (1983) and this landed Nicholas a role in that film. He then got the role of the punk-rocker in Valley Girl (1983), and this was the role that launched his career.
Nicholas Cage has been nominated to different times for an Academy Award. He won for his performance as a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. In 1998 he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with his motion pictures star located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard. He received the honor for his contributions to the film industry.
Recently he signed on to star in the martial arts action indie film franchise Jiu Jitsu written and directed by Dimitri Logothetis, along with Alain Moussi.
Nicolas Cage trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the UFC champion Royce Gracie.