Nicolas Cage ‘takes great umbrage’ with Hollywood’s lack of roles for Asian actors


I always forget two things about Nicolas Cage: one, he’s still with his wife Alice Kim (even though they had some marriage problems in the past) and two, they have a son together, Kal-El Coppola Cage. For real. Nic Cage named his son Kal-El. Because of course. Anyway, what’s important to remember is that Nic is married to a Korean-American lady and their son Kal-El is mixed race. Which means that when Nic was recently in Beijing to do some press for his new film, he answered questions about diversity in Hollywood with a surprising amount of depth and racial transcendence. OMG, I kind of love Nic Cage now. WTF?

Nicolas Cage just wrapped up shooting on location in China for British director Nick Powell’s upcoming period drama Outcast, co-starring Hayden Christensen. But before Cage left the country, he gave an interview to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, in which he reveals a few things about his role in the film, discusses his acting methods and speaks out against the dearth of lead roles offered to male Asian actors in Hollywood.

Answering a question about his experience working with the Chinese crew on Outcast, Cage took the opportunity to briefly turn the interview in a more serious direction.

After praising his female co-star Liu Yifei’s performance and saying how much he enjoyed working with the Chinese industry, Cage added: “I hope that we will see more Chinese actors in American cinema too. We do see Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Chow Yun Fat, but it’s very rare to see the Chinese male actor in Hollywood movies, which is something I take great umbrage with. You know, my son is Asian. He may want to direct one day; he may want to be an actor like his father — and I want that to be open to him. So I want to make some kind of effort to see more of that happen in Hollywood.”

Cage’s wife Alice Kim is Korean-American. He said their 8-year-old son, Kal-El (named after Superman’s birth name on planet Krypton), came along with him to China.

“He was here with me for the first few weeks, but he had to go back to the States to go back to school,” he said. “Selfishly, I wanted him to stay with me the whole time, but the teachers said he had to go back to school, so he went home.”

Outcast is the first film Cage – whose filmography spans some 75 films – has shot in China. He described the experience as positive and noted that he has “no doubt” China will soon surpass North America to become the world’s largest film market, as many analysts have forecasted.
The film is a co-production between China’s Yunnan Film Group and U.S.-Australian outfit Arclight Films.

“I do want to come back, and I want to work with a Chinese director and Chinese actors,” Cage said. “If there’s something that makes sense for a white guy like me, I’d like to do that here in China.”

He said he views Tony Leung (In the Mood for Love, Lust, Caution) as one of the world’s great actors.

“I would like to make a movie with Tony, but I don’t know how to do it,” he said. “I want to do it.”

Last month Cage attended China’s Huading Awards, an awards show that honors talent across all categories of the arts. At the time he told The Hollywood Reporter that he hopes to soon move to Hong Kong.

He reiterated that desire in the CCTV interview, saying, “One of my goals is to have a base near mainland China. I think Hong Kong would be a good match for me. I like being in Hong Kong.”

Near the end of the segment, CCTV’s anchor gently challenged Cage on his recent filmography, noting that some critics have questioned his choice of projects.

“You can’t make your choices based on what critics think. You have to make your choices based on what’s honest for you,” Cage replied.

He added: “I can’t let it bother me. I’m happy. I’m making movies I want to make. Something is working.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Right? Nic comes across as a nice, decent guy here. I do wonder about his insistence on moving to Hong Kong though… it feels sort of like a complicated tax dodge? The IRS knows where Nicolas Cage lives, so maybe he is thinking of setting up a homebase outside of the US. I hear Ireland is the newest corporate tax dodger haven, but I’m not sure if it’s the same deal for individuals. As for Nic’s love of Tony Leung… well, I mean, who doesn’t love Tony Leung? And of course it goes without saying that Nic is dead-right about the lack of substantive parts for Asian and Asian-American actors in Hollywood.



Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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37 Responses to “Nicolas Cage ‘takes great umbrage’ with Hollywood’s lack of roles for Asian actors”

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  1. The Wizz says:

    More roles for Asian actors, less roles for one N. Cage. I’m for that!

    • Andrew1 says:

      Haha even though I’m not wild about his acting, he really is a nice guy. He recently shot a movie in a town me and a friend were visiting, and my friend worked at the museum at one of the locations. She got us in and he was really nice and talked to us for a few minutes about how much he loved the city. I like what he says here

  2. Anna says:

    Of course you’re going to say all of this when you’re in Asia. Now go back to America and say it there. Say it twice. I dare ya.

  3. Original A says:

    He got really good reviews for Joe, which played at the Venice Film Festival…I sometimes forget that he is capable of doing good, indie films and not just the cheese he usually churns out. And say what you want about Nic Cage, the rumor was that some of his rich friends offered to pay his debts for him and he turned them down because he wanted to pay it off himself even if it meant doing crap movies. I can respect that. And he’s on point about Asian actors.

  4. lenje says:

    Oh yes, we share our love for the GREAT Tony Leung!!!

    (And of course I have also always had the hot for the talented and multilingual Takeshi Kaneshiro, yum…)

    Anyway, the last pic here (him holding the mic) makes me chuckle.

    • Buckwild says:

      Takeshi Kaneshiro has a face sculpted by god!

      And Cage is right – where are the romantic comedies with Asian leading men? Scratch that, when do they ever come out if not as the main character’s geeky, doctor/engineer/dentist bookworm weirdo friend or the fighting ninja? I want to see some hot interracial couples too, without the Asian parents coming out as frigid control freaks (a la Hangover Thailand edition).

      • Lolo-ology says:

        This is actually why I loved Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle- it was the first time some Asian kids were presented as primarily American. Regular American stoner kids, and the “asian” factor was just a happenstance, not the sum of their one-dimensional identity. The fact that they were Asian was brought up a lot, but only as a commentary on how you can’t escape your racial identity in this country- you’re constantly reminded of your otherness if you’re not white. But I really appreciated how good a job they did of representing “regular” Asian-American kids. I’d never seen anything close to it before.

      • Stef Leppard says:

        Glenn on the Walking Dead, plus Glenn and Maggie’s relationship. I think Glenn DID start out as the nerdy Asian but he has since shed that stereotypical image and become a pretty badass central character. I really like Glenn (and Glenn and Maggie). I hope he doesn’t get killed off.

      • deedadeedee says:


        Concur. Emphatically. But feel like my secret wasn’t such a secret afterall!!

        Saw Takeshi in a Donnie Yen (whose martial artistry is absolutely beautiful and moving – see Ip Man) movie – Dragon. It was love. Current obsession..

    • loveisthecoal says:

      I am in total agreement with pretty much everything he said here. I’m a bit of an Asian cinema nut…I’m not generally a romantic comedy fan but if Tony Leung or Takeshi Kaneshiro (yes he is GORGEOUS) were starring, I might have to watch that.

      And I would totally move to Hong Kong if I could. It’s probably my favorite city in the world. Granted I am not rich, so it wouldn’t be a tax dodging thing for me, but maybe he just likes it there. It’s a great city!

    • Maureen says:

      Takeshi is one of my favorites from way back!! Up to one point I had seen almost everything he’d done…including his Antarctic Adventure documentary. Now that’s devotion! But I haven’t followed his career in a while. I think the last thing I saw was The Warlords and couldn’t finish it because it was so confusing. Nothing since then.

    • sunnydaze says:

      I have to add in Rick Yune…sigh…

    • Gretchen says:

      Ahhh Takeshi Kaneshiro, he along will Colin Farrell are my forever dongs. I will never forget first seeing him in Chungking Express, it was love at first tinned pineapple.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      Oh lenje, I now know I wasn’t the only one in lust after seeing him in “Lust, Caution”–I loved that movie.

      And I didn’t even think about how asian actors are treated in the US vs. their actual home countries until I saw the film. Because I’m used to seeing the asian actors as the nerds, or the token funny guy. But Tony Leung was *smoldering* in that film–if he ever does a BDSM film (unlike that piece of sh-t 50 Shades), I will be the first in line to see it.

      But when I was watching the film, I didn’t even think to make a distinction–it was just natural. So I don’t understand why hollywood insists on these stupid stereotypes.

  5. Maria says:

    Representation matters, period.

    There aren’t enough Asians, Latinos, or African Americans at all.

    Quite frankly, it’s also upsetting when PoC say these very same things and get no coverage, meanwhile a white man says it and it makes the news (this isn’t in any way shade to this blog).

    I hope things change, period.

  6. Kit says:

    Practically heretical to point this stuff out, but it’s true. I know Marlon Brando touched on it during a Larry King interview once and the sh*t hit the fan.

    • Shiela says:

      Nicholas Cage is one of the best actors of all time (Vampire’s Kiss, Peggy Sue Got Married, Con Air). I love his intensity and originality, and think he sounds like, at least, a concerned parent.

  7. Ari says:

    Kevin Smith named his daughter Harley Quinn – some people just like that stuff lol – in regards to Cage he is right about the lack of asian actors (or many PoC in general) but it may be getting slightly better? Maybe he should stop taking all the movie roles!

    • Migdalia says:

      Really?! Oh wow that’s one of my fav Batman characters. I’ve always entertained of naming my first born son Draco (HP inspired).

  8. AlmondJoy says:

    He has power in Hollywood… maybe he should stand up and do something about it.

  9. TG says:

    Am I the only one that interpreted this interview as self-serving? He makes sure to put the Coppola name on his kid for recognition and he goes on to whine about not enough Asian roles for male actors not because he cares about diversity but because he wants to make sure his son can continue the Hollywood dynasty. If Mitt Romney had given this interview I think others would be seeing what I am seeing. He cares about himself and he is praising China because he wants to get work there and is looking to make sure his precious son can continue the lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

    • Jackson says:

      No, I got a little of that vibe as well when reading his interview. The Chinese market is huge and he can profit crazy money in that country from not only films, but the random endorsement deal. I’m not saying I think he was being disingenuous, just that it could greatly benefit him to say what he did, when and where he said it.

  10. Gigglesworth says:

    Well, if there are not enough acting jobs for people of your age/ color/ shoe size why don’t you make your own darn movies? Why doesn’t Nic Cage make the movies full of asian actors then if this is so important to him? He’s full of BS. I am tired of everyone blaiming everyone else when thry could just do it themselves….which they already do in Asia (i personally have watched many Asian foreign films and they are great! S Korea makes a lot, so does Japan and HK, never mind India’s film industry). Hollywood does what it does, if you don’t like it make your own films. I am no fan of Hollywood but people should stop complaining and start doing if they dont like the status quo. rant oooooooover!

  11. Tiffany says:

    So I just looked up Takeshi Kaneshiro. Is it getting warm in here? Why do I feel the need to travel to Japan.

    • Maureen says:

      He’s pretty awesome and a really good actor. He was so adorable in his younger movies and TV shows. I think he got more serious and manly in his later years. Used to love him to pieces and still consider him one of my all-time favorites! You really have to see him in Chungking Express. It’s a classic. Love Tony Leung, too.

    • lenje says:

      Well, I believe he spends most of his time in Taiwan, despite his name :). He’s partly Japanese, partly Taiwanese. And he speaks Japanese and Mandarin (as well as Cantonese, and of course English), he’s had his fair share in both countries (movie wise). One of his more known movies in Hollywood is probably House of the Flying Daggers. Check it out!

  12. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    The name Kal-El sounds like Korean – this language is so beautiful to listen to even if you don’t understand it.

  13. Veeeery Veeeerytas says:

    Hey, you clown who got your roles through nepotism, how many jobs are there in China for White American actors?

    And naming your kid after Superman? Really?

  14. moon says:

    Asian actors are perennially stuck in supporting roles, if they get any roles at all.