The Cage Collection
I had a dream the other night about the Wrath of Khan. Except, in the scene where Khan is stuffing his psionic earwig into Chekov’s ear, there’s a sudden close-up of the earwig and it has the face of Nic Cage.
Cage’s eyes are closed into slits, his mouth is stretched wide, lips flapping in a jittery stream of innuendos, tips and cajoling. From then on out, Chekov is working for Cage, not Khan, performing Cage’s secret bidding. Cage’s plans are vague. One night Chekov is grocery shopping at 2 am, the next he is stealing Spock’s tennis shoes or befriending intergalactic bag ladies at bus stops.
When Chekov realizes that he will never be able to extract Cage from his ear canal, he enters the cockpit of the USS Enterprise late one night and sets the ship on auto-pilot, on a crash course for the Bajoran Wormhole. The last frame of my dream was of Cage, unaffected by the extreme gravity, giving horse tips to the Bajoran Wormhole.
The next day, when I emailed Cage’s agent about a Khan remake shot according to my dream, he said no. Which made me think. Cage has been in just about every kind of bad movie there is. He’s been in so many bad movies that whenever Cage’s name comes up, people usually struggle to remember the good ones. Would he really turn down the only opportunity in his life to play a space bug that had all the best lines?
The answer was still no, but not for the reasons you may suspect. It wasn’t that Cage didn’t want the role, Cage’s agent admitted in an email. He’s always open to exciting new possibilities to advance his career. It was rather that Cage was in the midst of a huge rebranding campaign. He’d basically given up on movies, a technology he considered “20th-century”, and was now devoting most of his creative energies to curating a vast collection of paintings and photographs through the ages in which his face mysteriously appears.
I was relieved, but still puzzled to find that Cage’s face was in paintings and that there were enough of them to curate. I looked more closely at the literature Cage’s agent had sent.
“Uncanny likenesses of Cage,” one press release read, “that resemble Cage in ways that are hard to describe, but instantaneously felt across generations, cultures, creeds and faiths.”
There was a link. I clicked on it. Here is what I found.
Joe Tinker, 1910 baseball card
The noble grief etched onto the features of Chicago Nationals shortstop Joe Tinker is very reminiscent of early Cage performances. In fact, some modern art historians have pointed out that this is precisely the look Cage must have made when Roman Coppola asked him to play the villain in Deadfall. Notice the Walker Evans-like dustbowl resignation of the Tinker-Cage figure, but also the open-mouthed vacuity Cage would elevate to an art in Raising Arizona in his portrayal of H.I. McDunnough. Cage has already bought and signed fifty of the extant fifty-nine 1910 Joe Tinkers, all fifty of which are still selling for ten dollars plus shipping on eBay.
The Cage Madonna, origin unknown
Is it the sadly pensive eyes, the stout beseeching eyebrows or the pouting lower lip and possibly receding hairline that remind one so much of Cage? If you think it’s easy to be mistaken for the Virgin Mary, just imagine Burt Reynolds here, or Emilio Estevez. Cage is said to be particularly fond of this appearance of himself, though he is struggling to find ways to make money off it.
Mughal Oxherd, aka Village of Cages, Richmond Art Museum
Oddly, everyone in this painting looks like a balding Nic Cage. I originally thought this was a Mughal “Jack and the Beanstalk” parable, where a miserable Jack is taking his beast of burden to sell at the market for some magic beans that would make him smile. But then who is the mysterious scarlet-turbaned Cage staring wistfully off into the distance? Or the creepy little Cageling peeping over the shoulder of the mystical dervish Cage smoking the hookah? Why does the bearded man in the background also look eerily like Cage? Was this a village portrait, a village of Mughal Nic Cages? There just isn’t enough to go on. Cage is said to have already prototyped a line of mix-and-match T-shirt-and-shorts ensembles based on this painting for sale exclusively at Kmarts in Balochistan.
Josiah Lee Cage, stereogram circa 1860
There is, in fact, nothing to distinguish the Cage-like gentleman farmer in this Civil War-era portrait from Nic Cage at any point in his career. The resemblance is so uncanny that Cage has already willingly undergone DNA testing, as any signed merchandise Cage intends to produce based on the print requires proof of identity. Still, signed editions of a commemorative Josiah Lee Cage plate are already in the works at the Franklin Mint, to be sold for “a song” with the extremely rare Josiah Lee Cage Appomattox Fountain Pen, which comes complete with four ivory replacement nibs and a tube of blood from Cage’s own nipples. Total price: $29.99 plus tax.
Thyroidal Madonna Cage Breastfeeding Thyroidal Worm Jesus Cage, Hermitage, St. Petersburg (Special Wing)
It isn’t uncommon to encounter a pop-eyed Byzantine Mary suckling a pop-eyed, wormlike Byzantine Jesus. But how many thyroidal Maries breastfeeding thyroidal Worm Jesuses have you seen that both bear extraordinary likenesses to the actor Nic Cage andfeature a Mary projectile-suckling Jesus with such singular intent? For obvious reasons, Cage has been quiet about his ongoing negotiations with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg to acquire this unique painting and license it to the Thomas Kinkade Estate. If all goes according to plan, Cage’s agent says, we could be expecting a line of Thyroidal Madonna Cage Breastfeeding Thyroidal Worm Jesus Cages in three sizes and many more framing options at Hobby Lobbies throughout the Midwest as early as 2020.
Ok, so no one is saying that you would ever confuse Nic Cage for Max Schreck on the street. We’re just wondering what would happen if Cage reprised this iconic role. So, apparently, is Cage. Persistent rumors on the Cage Insolvency sub-reddit point out that Cage has been toying with the idea of reshooting the classic 1922 silent film out of his own pocket in his replica Templar castle in Pensacola. According to prominent redditor, Cage 64, Cage was duped into purchasing the 17-million-dollar faux chateau, but feels that if it was attached to a “silent masterpiece directed by James Franco”, the value would appreciate enough for him to move back to Hollywood and finance Deadfall 2 with Roman Coppola, a co-debtor on the castle.