For those of you wondering why Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage has been appearing recently in movies like "The Wicker Man," "Ghost Rider," and other suckfests, the answer is (as you might have suspected) that he really needs the money.
Although Cage has of course earned movie-star salaries -- Forbes Magazine estimated that he made about $17 million in 2004, for example -- he is apparently broke. The IRS says he is about $6-8 million behind on his taxes, and Cage has been selling off some of his many, many properties in order to raise cash. In September, he sued Samuel Levin, his former business manager, blaming Levin for his financial troubles and demanding $20 million from him. Levin filed a countersuit on November 12, seeking a declaratory judgment that he did nothing wrong and $129,000 that he says Cage owes him.
Levin's lawsuit alleges that in 2007 alone, Cage bought $33 million in property, 22 automobiles and nearly 50 pieces of expensive jewelry, art and other exotic items. He "also spent huge sums taking his sizable entourage on costly vacations and threw enormous, Gatsby-scale parties at his residences," the lawsuit states. Those residences included Cage's Bavarian castle, Schloss Neidstein, which he bought in 2006 but was sadly forced to sell in April. Cage was quoted as saying he had to sell it "due to the difficult economic situation," although by "the" he probably meant "my." Happily, he still has a backup castle in England. He bought that one in July 2007, because hey, can't have too many castles.
Levin alleges that he advised Cage not to buy either the Bavarian or English estates, but that he was ignored. Cage has alleged that he did not understand his true financial situation until after he fired Levin for other reasons.
Until that financial situation stabilizes, it looks like the string of non-nominated movies will continue. Forbes estimates that Cage will earn around $40 million this year due to his increased output, and says he "has six movies slated to hit theaters in the next two years, including a live-action version of 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice.'"