'Weather Man' Cage Predicts Waves of Change

ByABC News
October 27, 2005, 5:02 PM

Nov. 28, 2005 — -- Why is everyone throwing chicken nuggets and milk shakes at a $240,000-a-year weatherman who breezes through life? That's easy: it's because he's a $240,000-a-year weatherman who breezes through life.

Indeed, life is so good that it's easy to hate a one-in-a-million clown, like Nicolas Cage's character in his new film, "The Weather Man." People watching his daily forecast are the ones pelting him with all manner of fast food. It comes at him from car windows, like drive-by shootings.

Like everyone else in the movie, which opens today, even Cage's character is starting to hate himself, too. You can only skate through life so long before it becomes unbearably hard.

At 41, Cage is a little too old for a coming-of-age movie. So here he is as morning show personality David Spritz in what might be called a coming-of-middle-age movie. His character's father is about to die, his marriage is kaput, he can't connect with his kids, and yet all the TV viewers see is that cheery grin -- and they react to it in strange ways.

"At the time I agreed to do 'The Weather Man,' I was going through a divorce and I was trying to figure out how I could take a negative and turn it into a positive," says Cage, who was ending his marriage with Lisa Marie Presley back in 2004, when he signed on to the project.

"When I received the script for 'The Weather Man,' I thought, 'Oh well, here's a parallel.' Sometimes I choose movies that help me do something positive with a negative emotion. And 'The Weather Man' was an opportunity to take this well of feeling that I had and just funnel it."

As Cage promotes his new film, he's also caring for a newborn. His third wife, 21-year-old Alice Kim, gave birth to his second child, a boy named Kal-El (the same name given to Superman at birth). Like his "Weather Man" character, Cage has struggled through that dark spot, and is looking for some renewal.

"I wish I could be more colorful, but I've never had anything thrown at me; at least not food," he says. "There have been times in the past when girls have thrown glasses at me."

Michael Caine plays Cage's ill father. He's a celebrated author who has palled around with presidents, and makes Cage's Spritz feel all the more miserable about his effortless half-existence.

Cage has likewise felt the pressures of living up to Hollywood royalty. As the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, he changed his name early in his career to avoid charges of nepotism.

"I think no matter what walk of life we're in or who we are, we all have that connection with our father because we are small in the beginning and they're big so there's this awesome regard for dad," says Cage.

"And on top of that, my dad is a professor of literature so he's very, very smart. So I was always thinking, 'How I can aspire to be him?' There was this intimidating aura growing up with a university professor."

Cage, who won an Oscar in 1995 for "Leaving Las Vegas" and earned a second nomination in 2002 with "Adaptation," is heading into a blitz of work. He's scheduled to appear in six films next year, including Oliver Stone's yet-to-be-titled Sept. 11 film.

"That's just the way it works out sometimes," he says. "I haven't worked since 'National Treasure,' which was a year ago. I try and make two movies a year. To me, that's not too much. On top of that, I like to work. It's part of my spiritual belief. I want to do something with my time that's productive. I want to serve and I feel I'm serving myself and serving you by working. I don't want to sit around by the pool luxuriating with a margarita."

No, sitting around the pool drinking margaritas all day is something he'd do in "Leaving Las Vegas." Instead, Cage is shifting from Oscar-caliber films like "Adaptation" to action roles and offbeat comedy. Among his upcoming projects: "Ghost Ryder," based on the Marvel Comics vigilante motorcyclist, and a sequel to "National Treasure."

Still, with all the movies he's done, and with all the films in production, he remains a guy who isn't comfortable giving interviews. His "Weather Man" character has a tough time communicating, and Cage says he can relate to him every time he has to shift into promotion mode.

"When I have to spend five hours in a room doing one TV interview after another, knowing that everything I say will be a matter of public record for the rest of your life, that makes me pretty uncomfortable in my own skin."

But an older and wiser Cage says he's trying to turn negatives into positives. He is, after all, a family man for a second time, and has reason to be optimistic.

"I think things go in cycles, they wax and wane," he says. "I'm just trying to get better at negotiating the waves. Right now, I'm trying to be more neutral rather than ecstatic or depressed. I'm trying to be right in the middle and to be better in all ways -- as an actor, as a father and as a husband. I'm not saying I have any control over my destiny but I'd like to be better at surfing the waves of life."