Nicolas Cage‘s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent premiered to rave reviews last month. In the film, Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself in a world where his acting career is struggling. He agrees to show up at a billionaire superfan’s birthday party for $1 million. When it all goes awry, Cage is forced to take on versions of his past characters to save his wife and daughter.

Cage participated in an interview at the premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, last month to discuss why he finally agreed to do the movie after repeatedly saying no.

“When I first heard about it I said, ‘No, I’m not doing that. No, I’m not interested in playing myself and I’m going to get somebody else. If Gene Wilder was still with us, I’d likely cast him,'” he said. “Then Tom (Gormican) wrote me a very thoughtful, very enthusiastic letter and I realized that he wasn’t trying to do like an Andy Sandberg SNL sketch mocking whatever. But then he actually was interested in some of the earlier work and wanted to showcase that and bring some of that in the gold guns and references to some of the other movies. I thought, ‘Ok well, this guy is serious and he’s intelligent,’ so that’s what did it.”

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent opened in theaters on April 22.

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