It’s a loaded question to ask a movie buff their favorite Nic Flicks. But when Stephen Colbert finally met Nicolas Cage for the first time on Thursday night’s episode of The Late Show, the host wasted no time in asking the man himself about his Top Five Nic Cage films. (The answer might shock you.)
“I’m gonna start with Pig — that’s my favorite movie I’ve ever made,” Cage responded, barely taking a pause to think. “I love Mandy, that Panos Cosmatos directed. I love Bringing Out the Dead, that Martin Scorsese directed. And I loved Bad Lieutenant [Port of Call New Orleans], Werner Herzog. I loved a movie called Joe that David Gordon Green directed.”
Maybe it’s just a matter of his memory, but Cage’s list definitely skews more towards his later career; Bringing Out the Dead, the oldest film on his list by a decade, only came out in 1999. Seriously, no Leaving Las Vegas? No Moonstruck? No Raising Arizona? Colbert in particular had one personal favorite he was surprised didn’t make the list: “I’d go Face/Off,” the host retorted.
“Oh, I like that one a lot!” Cage enthused of John Woo’s 1997 sci-fi thriller, before backtracking a bit to give some more insight into his crazed character: “Vampire’s Kiss was a little movie I made where I was able to explore my more abstract dreams with film performance,” he said. “I was sadly playing a character who was losing his mind, but he was beginning to think that he was the vampire from the original Nosferatu movie… So I got to act like a German expressionistic silent movie star. And that was cool.”
Cage went on: “I was able to use what I learned on this little Vampire’s Kiss movie and put it in this giant movie [Face/Off], and it worked!”
Funnily enough, Vampire’s Kiss also allowed the self-described goth to don fangs before he became the world’s most famous vampire in this year’s Renfield. Plus, a Face/Off sequel miiight be happening in the not-too-distant future. It all comes full circle! Watch Cage pick his favorite Nic Flicks on The Late Show below.
Revisit our ranking of 15 of Cage’s most essential roles here.