Despite what some of his life choices might have you believe, Nicolas Cage doesn’t do drugs. In fact, according to an interview he recently gave to The New York Times Magazine, he’s “completely antidrug”. Well, except for that time his friend gave him a bag of mushrooms which he kept in the refrigerator and his cat would “go in” and “and grab” it, “almost like he knew what it was. He loved it.”. I guess this happened enough times that eventually Nic “started going, ‘I guess I’ll do it”. Don’t worry though, Nic says “it was a peaceful and beautiful experience” but that he “subsequently threw them out”. But we’re not here to talk about Nic doing mushrooms with his cat, that’s old news. He told that story on Letterman. What’s new news is that Nic went on a quest to find the Holy Grail, which led him to buy a house in Rhode Island, which, in part, is why he went broke. Well, that and the dinosaur skull. But definitely not the $80 octopus.
In addition to sharing many wonderful insights into his acting choices over the years (Nic says he wanted to “talk like Pokey from The Gumby Show” for Peggy Sue Got Married and landed on “Jerry Lewis on psychedelia”), Nic says that bad real estate investments are what took a real toll on his finances. One such investment was buying a house in Rhode Island, a location his literal search for the literal Holy Grail of Arthurian legend (or if you’re like me, from Indiana Jones and Monty Python) led him to.
Wait, what did you mean when you said you were on a grail quest and finding properties that aligned with that?
One thing would lead to another. It’s like when you build a library. You read a book, and in it there’s a reference to another book, and then you buy that book, and then you attach the references. For me it was all about where was the grail? Was it here? Was it there? Is it at Glastonbury? Does it exist?
Oh, O.K. I thought you were being metaphorical about going on a grail quest.
Yeah, if you go to Glastonbury and go to the Chalice Well, there’s a spring that does taste like blood. I guess it’s really because there’s a lot of iron in the water. But legend had it that in that place was a grail chalice, or two cruets rather, one of blood and one of sweat. But that led to there being talk that people had come to Rhode Island, and they were looking for something as well.
That’s why you bought property in Rhode Island?
I don’t know if I’m going to say that’s why I bought the Rhode Island property. But I will say that is why I went to Rhode Island, and I happened to find the place beautiful. But yes, this had put me on a search around different areas, mostly in England, but also some places in the States. What I ultimately found is: What is the Grail but Earth itself?
I find that grail quests tend to be more fulfilling when they’re metaphorical.
Well, I knew that, and the metaphor for me is the earth. The divine object is Earth.
And there you have it. Another centuries old mystery solved by Nicolas Cage. Unfortunately for Nic, grail quests don’t come cheap.
You have good investments and bad investments. The good investments came from personal interest and my honest enjoyment of the history.
The funny thing is, my real estate buying spree was the real problem. It wasn’t these other things like shrunken heads that the media liked to talk about.
Now, don’t get it twisted, the dinosaur skull wound up costing Nic a pretty penny too. NYTM followed up with “or that dinosaur skull…” when Nic mentioned shrunken heads, as one does.
Or an octopus. What is an octopus, $80? You’re not going to go into dire straits buying an octopus. The dinosaur skull was an unfortunate thing, because I did spend $276,000 on that. I bought it at a legitimate auction and found out it was abducted from Mongolia illegally, and then I had to give it back. Of course it should be awarded to its country of origin. But who knew? Plus, I never got my money back. So that stank.
Honestly, that’s the most relatable thing I have ever heard him say. At any rate, like any good Nicolas Cage performance, the entire interview is a wild romp. For instance, when Nic mentions he’s off to TIFF, he means he’s headed for the Transylvania International Film Festival. Nic, never change!