You Won't Believe What Major Film Roles Nicolas Cage Turned Down In The Early 2000s

Nicolas Cage is a major movie star. There's no denying that. We mean, you'd have to be to star in a movie where you literally play a version of yourself that's called "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." Then, of course, there are the many, many other huge movies he's starred in over the years, from "Ghost Rider," "Con Air," and "National Treasure," so it's safe to say the star really does have quite the plethora of movies under his belt — and it turns out that was always very much his intention.

Cage admitted to The New York Times in 2019 that starring in movie after movie after movie is actually a nod to his acting heroes. He also liked the idea of starring in plenty of projects while he was still in demand, and wanted his fans to see more of certain characters in the same way he used to when he was younger. "By design, with video on demand, I felt that if I made more movies, not only was it good for me financially, people would be able to tune in at home and go, 'What's the next movie that Nick made?' They'd have a large selection," he said.

So, with that in mind, and IMDb reporting Cage has appeared in an impressive around 110 different projects over the years, you'd be forgiven for believing there's not much the actor has actually turned down in his career. Only, we know that's certainly not the case.

Missed opportunities?

It turns out we could have seen Nicolas Cage slaying Orcs and bending time and space, as he actually turned down roles in the huge movie franchises "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Matrix." He made the pretty surprising admission to People, revealing that he passed on both because he wanted to spend more time with his kids. "I didn't want to go to New Zealand for three years or Australia for three years because I needed to be home with my son Weston, that's a fact," he shared, referring to his child with former partner Christina Fulton. The star has since welcomed a second son, Kal-El Coppola Cage, with Alice Kim, and is expecting his third child with his wife, Riko Shibata.

But they're not the only two big movie franchises Cage missed out on. The star also turned down the chance to play the big green ogre himself in none other than 2001's "Shrek," admitting that he didn't want children to think of him in that way. "The news said it was because of vanity. I think that's a bit strong," he explained to Today in 2013, adding, "the truth is, I'm not afraid to be ugly in a movie." Of course, the iconic role eventually went to Mike Myers with the franchise and its spin-offs reportedly raking in more than $3.5 billion at the box office — which may be money Cage now wishes he'd pocketed.