When Nicolas Cage sang Purple Rain at a karaoke bar a couple of months ago he thought he was doing “primal scream therapy” after his latest marriage breakdown.
Instead, he was ruining his social life.
In a long, fascinating interview with The New York Times, the Con Air star revealed he can no longer go out after video of his angry version of the Prince classic was posted online, drawing derision.
“You go to a karaoke bar with a male friend, the bar says ‘no videotaping’ and suddenly, there’s two different videos of you doing karaoke,” Cage said.
“Honestly, I wasn’t even doing that to sing.”
The unusual performance happened around the time of the third anniversary of Prince’s April 21 death, when Cage was asked out by a friend who was worried he was sitting alone in his apartment.
“So I went to the one place in my neighbourhood … just to have some fun, and that became everybody’s business,” said Cage, whose new thriller A Score to Settle has a score of 13 per cent so far on Rotten Tomatoes (Cage’s personal approval rating on the site is 100 per cent.)
While Cage said he had “to be careful about what I can divulge” was behind Purple Rain, he said he was “pretty upset” about “a recent breakup”.
On March 23, the Face/Off leading man and his girlfriend of one year, make-up artist Erika Koike, wed in Las Vegas.
But just four days later Cage filed for an annulment, saying he and Koike drank “to the point of intoxication” before the wedding and that he wasn’t aware of Koike’s “relationship with another person.”
Cage, 55, and Koike, 35, were granted a divorce on May 31.
The fleeting marriage was Cage’s fourth.
His previous wives are actor Patricia Arquette, 51, heiress Lisa Marie Presley, 51, and waitress Alice Kim, 35.
Singing and heartbreak were just the tip of the iceberg of what the father of two touched on in his Times interview.
He spoke about possessions (cobras, castles), how he was forced to return a stolen dinosaur skull and that he has a pyramid waiting as his tomb in New Orleans.
Asked about going on The Late Show and telling David Letterman about getting high on mushrooms with his cat, Cage said that while he’s now “completely anti-drug” the session with the cat was “peaceful and beautiful”.
He subsequently threw out the mushrooms.
Cage said in the early 1980s he rented a Los Angeles apartment to Johnny Depp, who was “at the point in his career when he was selling pens or something to get by”.
Depp was hoping to launch a musical career but over one of their regular Monopoly games one day, Cage suggested acting.
‘‘He told me, ‘No, I can’t act’. I said, ‘I think you can act’. So I sent him to meet with my agent. She sent him out on his first audition, which was A Nightmare on Elm Street.
“He got the part that day. Overnight sensations don’t happen. But it happened with him.”
In 2007, Cage paid $US276,000 for a Tyrannosaurus bataar skull, reportedly outbidding Leonardo DiCaprio, but found out it was “abducted” illegally from Mongolia and returned it.
“Of course it should be awarded to its country of origin. But who knew? Plus, I never got my money back. So that stank,” he said, talking about financial ups and downs and his passion for collecting.
As for more spiritual pursuits, he decided to “get off philosophy” after spending “years” meditating three times daily because “no one could understand what I was talking about”, Cage said.
“And I thought people would rather see me as an orangutan than as an eagle meditating on the mountaintop anyway.”
These days, he’s searching for a (literal) holy grail which he thinks may be Earth: “I’m trying to invent my own mythology.”