Clementine is such a fan of the actor Nicolas Cage that on her online dating profile, she uses him as the benchmark to which potential suitors need to aspire. “Someone with a Nic Cage-like energy,” she says of her ideal partner. “Chaotic relationship to the void; sombre realist undertones and a sexy passionate heartfeltedness [sic].”
This kind of commitment is remarkable but not unusual. The American actor, now 58, commands a level of devotion that is almost unique in the world of film. Name an object or a body part and someone has probably attempted to plaster Nicolas Cage’s face onto it: a spanking paddle; a leg; a Disney princess on a mug. In an industry in which celebrities can come across as bland and predictable, Cage is a man comprised of huge, baffling, esoteric choices. “He defies the behaviour and personality traits generally expected or seen of other celebrities with a name as big as his,” says Clementine.
Along with 149,000 other people, Clementine is a member of the subreddit “Onetruegod”, devoted exclusively to Cage. “We welcome all, as the Lord would, but still fight against the temptation of John Travolta,” says the description. In Onetruegod, the fans – who often capitalise Cage’s pronouns as the Bible does with God – post a wide range of things: clips of Cage; art they have made themselves; questions to trigger a discussion of the man’s work.
On April 13, for instance, one fan posted to complain that his 50-year-old mother was too big a fan of the actor. “She keeps buying movies of his every time we go out,” he said, “and I think she’s addicted.” “Do you have one pair of clean pants and one clean shirt?” another commenter replied. “Are you getting one meal a day? The rest can be spent on Nicolas Cage movies.”
Recently, Onetruegod has seen a flurry of activity. Cage is in the public eye again, doing interviews with the press, feeding the machine. He has a film out; one that deals head-on with Cage-mania. In The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, the actor plays Nick Cage, a version of himself, who is paid $1 million to appear at the birthday party of a mysterious fan (Pedro Pascal) and is then embroiled in a sting operation run by the CIA.