At the SXSW Film Festival, Nicolas Cage watches Nicolas Cage play Nicolas Cage – FOX 35 Orlando



‘Nick Cage’ greets ‘Javi Gutierrez’ with a ‘Palm Hold Fist’ salute as he arrives in Mallorca, Spain. | Credit: Katalin Vermes

This year, FOX film critics Allison Shoemaker and Caroline Siede were on the ground for the wild, weird marathon that is South by Southwest (SXSW), the mega-festival/conference that features the worlds of film, television, music, comedy, art, technology and more. Here Caroline Siede recounts a truly surreal evening from the first week of the fest. 

AUSTIN, TX – Being a film critic can be an odd thing. You take something you love and turn it into work. You rub elbows with the very people whose work you critique. And sometimes you find yourself sitting seven seats and one aisle away from Nicolas Cage at the premiere of a movie where he plays Nicolas Cage.

Cage’s presence dominated the early days of this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival — the first to be held in-person since 2019. Bobble-headed versions of Cage’s various characters wandered the streets for photo ops. Promoters handed out temporary tattoos of the actor. And one enthusiastic fan started a viral campaign just to get Cage’s attention. (The Austin Convention Center was plastered with signs that read “Nicolas Cage! I’m your biggest fan. Please call me” with a phone number at the bottom — a stunt that worked.)

Photo: Caroline Siede/FOX

That all culminated in the Mar. 12 world premiere of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” the new meta action comedy from writer/director Tom Gormican in which Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself — one that’s ostensibly a little bit heightened, although given Cage’s famously over-the-top personality, who can really say. (Remarkably, Gormican wrote the movie having never met Cage, with no idea whether the actor would actually want to sign on.)

AUSTIN, TEXAS – MARCH 12: Nicolas Cage attends the premiere of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at The Paramount Theatre on March 12, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for S

I attended the screening with the intention of reviewing the film (which, incidentally, is quite good). But as I settled in for the delayed 10:30 p.m. screening, it quickly became clear this wasn’t going to be just an average movie premiere — even by SXSW standards. While it’s not unusual for stars to attend festival premieres (I’d seen Sandra Bullock and Daniel Radcliffe at the debut of “The Lost City” …….


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