Nicolas Cage's Powerful 'Pig' Performance Was Inspired By His Cat

The actor drew from "nightmares" he'd had about losing his beloved Maine coon, Merlin.

Nicolas Cage says it wasn’t hard to get into the mindset of his character in “Pig.”

Cage has already received rave reviews for his portrayal of a former chef who becomes distraught after his beloved truffle pig ― the titular animal ― is stolen and sets off to find whoever was responsible.

And his cat deserves some credit.

“I had already had bad dreams about what I would do if I lost Merlin, my cat,” Cage said in a lengthy GQ interview about the film. “I had nightmares. And I told this to Michael [Sarnoski], the director. I said I already have it in my psyche, in my imagination, in my emotions. I know how to play this part without acting.”

The star has spoken about his deep appreciation for felines before, telling HuffPost in 2019 that cats were his favorite animal.

“I’ve always loved cats,” he said at the time. “I’ve always had relationships with cats from an early age. They’ve been my best friends.”

In the GQ interview, he waxed poetic about the “profound relationships” he’s had with both Merlin and his late German shepherd, Walker.

“Because there are no people-oriented noises to corrupt the relationship, like jealousy or undercutting,” he said. “It’s all unconditional love and it’s very close and it’s very affectionate and palpable.”

He also talked about his pet crow, Huginn, who flies around in a “16-foot geodesic dome” and whom Cage describes as “very intelligent.”

As for his porcine co-star, Brandy, he said he “enjoyed working with her” and noted that she was primarily interested in “payment” for her work, i.e., food.

“If they need a very soulful look in her eyes, off-camera, you could show her a bit of carrot,” he said.

The premise for “Pig,” as well as the trailer, initially drew some laughs and skepticism. But the movie, and Cage’s emotional performance in particular, has received serious accolades from reviewers. The Washington Post called it a movie of “enormous beauty and depth,” while the AV Club praised it as “so much richer and stranger” than it had seemed.

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