In a recent interview with People at the 51st Saturn Awards, Nicolas Cage opened up about something he regretted about the late Stan Lee, the creator behind Marvel’s most iconic characters.
Cage, who was honored with the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in ‘Renfield,’ said the following about Lee:
“[He] had a big influence on the way I look at the creative process and was like a surrealist father to me.”
Stan Lee, who passed away on November 12, 2018, due to congestive heart failure at the age of 95, was remembered by Cage as not just a friend but a guiding force in his life. Cage expressed regret that they weren’t able to work together creatively, saying:
“[I] wanted to do something with [Lee] a long time ago, [but] it didn’t happen, but he always had that zest for life and for creative output. He never stopped, so that was a big deal.”
Despite their close relationship and Cage’s desire to collaborate on a project with Lee, this never came to fruition. It seems this missed opportunity remains a regret for Cage, who places Lee alongside Walt Disney in terms of their impact on culture.
Stan Lee Gave Nicolas Cage His Name
While changing his surname from Coppola to Cage, the actor was inspired by a character created by Lee — Luke Cage. This was a nod to the influence Lee’s work had on him, a fact he openly shared while accepting the 2023 Variety Legend & Groundbreaker Award:
“I’ve gotta be nice about Marvel movies because I named myself after a Stan Lee character named Luke Cage. What am I going to do, put Marvel movies down? Stan Lee is my surrealistic father. He named me.”
Despite his success in the film industry, Cage made it clear that his admiration for Lee’s universe does not necessarily translate into a desire to be part of the MCU. Last month, he added that the ‘Superman’ role is over for him.
Back in 2022, the actor also revealed he has a more personal connection to Lee’s legacy through his comic book collection. Cage said Lee’s comics were not just entertainment but educational tools that introduced him to new vocabulary at a young age:
“As a child, at the most impressionable age, that was the one that really taught me to read and to look at life differently and taught me different words like opaque. I didn’t know what opaque was… How do you even say opaque when you’re six years old? But I had my lemon cookies and my NyQuil, and I was reading his books, his comic books.”
Although part of his collection, including works by Lee, was stolen, Cage managed to keep a photo of him and Lee hugging.