While most Hollywood celebrities identify with their real name, a few of them are known for coming up with iconic stage names. Apparently, the stage names are often because of numerology or to hide the nagging suspicion of nepotism. Evidently, Nicolas Cage is one such actor who went too far in an attempt to change his surname in order to stand on his own.
Born as Nicolas Kim Coppola, the Ghost Rider actor is the nephew of the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. Thus, instead of sticking to the grand Hollywood descent, Nicolas Cage managed to carve out a legacy of his own. However, there’s a fun story behind what spurred him to switch from Coppola to Cage.
Nicolas Cage Changed His Name Under The Weight Of Legacy
The weight of Hollywood legacy can be truly disturbing for certain actors especially due to audiences’ prejudice against nepotism. Thus, a lot of A-list celebrities often change their name and surname to avoid the unnecessary wrath of the public. Something similar happened to Nicolas Cage, as he was born in the family of the acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
Growing up with the original name of Nicolas Kim Coppola, the Ghost Rider star is the nephew of The Godfather director, Francis Ford Coppola. However, as the actor started advancing in his career, he changed his surname from Coppola to Cage in no time, to avoid the burden of legacy.
Successfully managing to carve out a legacy of his own, the 59-year-old actor took on his new surname after his debut in Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Leaving out his whole descent behind, Cage explained purposefully why he changed his surname, and what inspired him on such a unique take.
What Inspired The Actor To Switch From Coppola To Cage
During an interview with Wired, while promoting The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nicolas Cage answered the internet’s burning questions about his change in surname. Given he spent quite a few decades of his career, and his exploits in the entertainment industry, the 59-year-old actor explained why exactly he changed his name.
“People would not stop saying things like, ‘I love the smell of Nicolas in the morning,’. Because of Apocalypse Now, and Robert Duvall saying, ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning.’ It made it hard to work”
Explaining how his experience on the set of Fast Times at Ridgemont High inspired the change, Nicolas Cage reflected upon Apocalypse Now which inspired the unique surname. “I decided, ‘I don’t need this,’ so I changed it to Cage.” the actor shared. He further added the origin of his surname – Cage.
“It’s a combination of Luke Cage from Marvel comics, who was a character I liked, also named Power Man, and John Cage, the avant-garde composer. Speaks volumes about everything I’ve been up to ever since.”
Leaving behind his bit of a nepotism baby, to prove his merits in the entertainment industry over decades of his career, Nicolas Cage switched from Coppola to give up on the hefty legacy, and all sorts of expectations attached to it. Although it was not that he was ashamed of his legacy. He saw an advantage in it, going up to his uncle so as to potentially get a part in The Godfather 3 only to be denied that.
His goal was not to follow a legacy but to set one by himself. So far he has been more than successful in doing so. So much so that he no longer chooses to hide who he may be related to. He is rather proud of it, holding a reputation of his own outside of his connections with one of the biggest directors.