The Nicolas Cage Meme That Inspired a Script Change in 1 of His Movies

Many people enjoy the memorable performances of Nicolas Cage. He has appeared in all kinds of films, from “wild” ones like Prisoners of Ghostland to the well-known National Treasure franchise. But it’s the former that tend to inspire those ubiquitous Nicolas Cage memes. Naturally, the actor knows how the internet feels about him, and he incorporated one line into a 2022 film. 

Nicolas Cage inserted a meme into ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

Nicolas Cage meme
Nicolas Cage attends the premiere of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at The Paramount Theatre on March 12, 2022 in Austin, Texas. | Rich Fury/Getty Images for SXSW

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent stars Cage as a fictional version of himself. The plot of the dark comedy focuses on Cage, who needs cash. He accepts when a fan offers him $1 million to do a birthday gig. 

However, it doesn’t turn out the way he expected. Fans can expect callbacks to Cage’s previous films.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cage initially didn’t want to do the film. After he accepted, he worked hard to ensure a great product. During an interview, Cage explained that he added in a “not the bees” reference — a callback a popular meme.

“I put “not the bees” in there,” Cage explained. “That wasn’t in the script. I was sending that up. This was an opportunity to play with the memeification that has transpired around that. [Fans have] created this other persona [of me] that has a life of its own,” he added.

Where does the ‘not the bees’ meme come from?

The line about bees comes from the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man. Cage portrays a police officer who travels to an island to find his missing daughter. He finds a pagan community inhabits the island, and they use his kid to lure him into a trap. 

Toward the end of the film, the group sacrifices Cage’s character to increase their land’s honey production. They pour bees around his face after placing a trap on his head. The character then shouts, “Not the bees!” 

While the horror film is considered one of the worst Halloween movies of all time, fans found it somewhat amusing due to Cage’s performance. A cult following formed as a result, and they made a meme of the bees line. In the following years, people made dozens of jokes about the scene on the internet. 

While some actors may not embrace memes about themselves, Nicolas Cage isn’t one of them. “It’s like their Frankenstein’s monster,” he said of how his persona has been adapted by so many. “I’m playing with that.”

Why Cage thinks people make memes of him

Of course, The Wicker Man is not the only source of Cage memes. Vampire’s Kiss provided the one where the actor makes a facial expression which has provided a lot of laughs. Coupled with the words “You don’t say?” most would recognize this meme anywhere.

Like the “not the bees” meme, Cage is aware of other running jokes among internet users. There are even products referencing them like the sequin pillow Cage uses in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. He figures people pick his facial expressions since the actor likes to deviate from a natural appearance. 

“I think the internet’s response to it, that they’ve tapped into it vicariously, is because these characters are doing things we all want to do, but we’re too well-behaved to actually do in our own lives,” Cage added. “Ultimately, it meant there’s a connection with the audience, and people are getting something from it. That’s positive.”

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