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Nic Cage Says “It’s Probably True” That He Was Never Paid For “Leaving Las Vegas”

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Nicolas Cage is known for being one of the best and most exciting movie actors alive, but he’s also cultivated an air of infamy for his personal finances. Thankfully for Cage and his audience, he’s past the period where he was having to accept roles in multiple lower-caliber action movies a year just to pay his bills, but now he’s getting headlines for a financial oversight from earlier in his career: that he was never actually paid for his Oscar-winning role in the 1995 drama “Leaving Las Vegas.”

The notion was first raised by “Leaving Las Vegas” director Mike Figgis on a Hollywood Reporter podcast back in 2022. Figgis claimed that neither he nor Cage ever received their agreed upon fees of $100,000 each for their work on the film from the (now defunct) production company Lumière Pictures and Television.

According to Figgis, the company engaged in some of the creative accounting that studios are sometimes alleged to perform, and claimed that the movie, which cost $4 million to produced and took in $32 million in domestic grosses alone, never actually turned a profit.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

At the recent South by Southwest festival in Austin, Cage was asked to confirm or deny the story. His response is that it’s “probably true,” but he clearly hasn’t missed the money either:

“But I haven’t been thinking about it. I got to play a part that I absolutely had to play. 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.”

And as Figgis pointed out on the podcast, neither of them were exactly hurting for money following the film’s success:

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

Still, you have to wonder if there was ever a time in the last decade or so when Cage could have used that $100,000. But it also seems clear that he and Figgis both got along fine without it.





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