Nicolas Cage rules. He can overact beautifully but can turn in measured, powerful performances like Pig; his body of work, from Raising Arizona to his new film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, is as fascinating as it is stellar; and while he’s certainly odd he’s also incredibly genuine. Everybody loves Nic Cage… with the possible exception of 1960s Batman TV show star Adam West.
While promoting Massive Talent, Cage hosted an Ask Me Anything on Reddit where someone asked about his performance as the superhero Big Daddy in Kick-Arse, which he famously based on West’s measured, wholesome version of the Caped Crusader. And it turns out while most people love him in the movie, West was less than impressed with Cage’s emulation of him:
BennieWilliams: One of your most fascinating performances to me was as Big Daddy in Kick-Arse. When you were crafting that performance, was Adam West the biggest inspiration for your superhero persona, or were there other sources you felt you drew more heavily from? Thank you, and have a great day!
Cage: I would give it all to Adam West. I grew up watching him on the ‘60s Batman show and he is where it begins and where it ends as Big Daddy. I met Adam West once and I said “did you see I was channeling you?” and he said “I saw you TRY to channel me!”
Damn, Adam! That’s quite a burn, although of course we don’t know if West said it while looking at Cage with total disdain or a sly twinkle in his eye. But you can judge for yourself by comparing their performances. First up, Cage as Big Daddy in Kick-Arse:
And here’s a highlight reel of West’s Batman:
Based on my memories, I had thought that Cage’s performance lacked the gravitas (and I say that with total sincerity) of West, but comparing the two videos, it’s pretty spot-on. I think that I’m just remembering all the languid, low-key scenes West got to have as part of a TV series that frequently needed to kill some time, as opposed to the brisker pace of a film. Also, Kick-Arse is not nearly as absurd as the ‘60s Batman show; I think if Cage had been granted the joy of a scene where he had to ask Chloë Grace Moretz’s Hit-Girl for a canister of Daddy-Shark Repellant Spray, the similarities would have been uncanny.
Still, there was only one Adam West. Of course, there’s only one Nic Cage, too. So if you want an incredibly happy and wholesome way to start your week, you could scarcely do better than reading Cage’s entire AMA.