Nicolas Cage Says He ‘Probably’ Wasn’t Paid For This Award-Winning Performance

“I wasn’t going to stop — whether they paid me or not, I was making the movie,” the actor said of his role in the ’90s film.

Nicolas Cage appears to be unfazed over what he earned to star as Ben Sanderson in the 1995 movie “Leaving Las Vegas.”

In an interview at the SXSW Film & TV Festival earlier this week, the actor told Business Insider that it’s “probably true” that he didn’t get paid for the role that won him both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

“But I haven’t been thinking about it,” Cage said.

He added that he “absolutely had to play” the part in a film that follows Sanderson, a screenwriter with alcoholism and suicidal thoughts who meets a sex worker named Sera (played by Elisabeth Shue) in Las Vegas.

“There was no doubt in my mind that it would be an experience and a great movie. I wasn’t going to stop — whether they paid me or not, I was making the movie,” Cage said of the film based on a John O’Brien novel.

“Leaving Las Vegas” writer and director Mike Figgis, in a 2022 interview for The Hollywood Reporter’s “It Happened in Hollywood” podcast, revealed that he and Cage weren’t paid $100,000 fees for the film.

“They said the film never went into profit,” said Figgis of Lumiere Pictures, which financed what THR noted was a “$4 million film.”

He continued, “I mean, my career then took off again, and the next film I did, I got really well paid. And within a year, [Cage] was earning $20 million a film, so that was quite good.”

The critically acclaimed film — which scored director and adapted screenplay nominations at the Academy Awards — grossed $32 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

For her role in the film, Shue also scored lead actress nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

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