Nicolas Cage Confirms He Was Likely Never Paid ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ Fee

At the SXSW earlier this week, Nicolas Cage agreed with his Leaving Las Vegas writer-director’s reveal on The Hollywood Reporter‘s It Happened in Hollywood podcast that he was never paid for the movie that won him his best actor Oscar.

Cage, who was in Austin promoting his latest movie, Arcadian, spoke about the unpaid bill with Business Insider, telling the website’s reporter that it it’s likely he was never paid for the Mike Figgis-directed 1995 drama for which he won the best actor Oscar, ushering in a successful second act of his career.

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“But I haven’t been thinking about it,” Cage said. “I got to play a part that I absolutely had to play. There was no doubt in my mind that it would be an experience and a great movie. I wasn’t going to stop — whether they paid me or not, I was making the movie.”

Following the 1995 Oscar win, he commanded massive salaries for his work on multiple action blockbusters, including Con Air, Face/Off and The Rock.

Figgis was a guest on The Hollywood Reporter‘s podcast It Happened In Hollywood for its third season premiere in October 2022, where he revealed that he never received his $100,000 fee for directing the drama, which centers on Cage’s suicidal writer as he moves to the titular city and begins a romance with a sex worker (Elizabeth Shue).

“They said the film never went into profit,” the director revealed of the film’s studio, Lumiere Pictures, which financed the $4 million movie. Figgis used handheld 16mm cameras on the low budget production and often shot in the streets of the city without permits — so in one take. Both he and Cage have acknowledged this impacted the two leads’ performances positively.

Leaving Las Vegas grossed $32 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Leaving Las Vegas
Cage in Leaving Las Vegas

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