10 Secret Acting Methods You Never Knew

10. Nicolas Cage Enters A "Shamanic" Trance To Get Into Character

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance Nicolas Cage
Columbia Pictures

It's no secret that Nicolas Cage is one of the most eccentric actors working today, and the Oscar-winning performer has certainly employed some peculiar acting methods over the years, such as requiring hot yogurt to be poured over his toes while filming a sex scene.

But on a broader level, Cage uses an acting technique which he refers to as "Nouveau Shamanic," whereby he follows in the footsteps of medicine men and tribal shamans by going into a trance and acting out the issues affecting his character.

In the case of 2012's Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, this involved donning Afro-Caribbean paint, sewing ancient Egyptian artefacts into his clothing, and gathering silicate minerals such as onyx and tourmaline, which superstition dictates have courage-giving and restorative properties respectively.

If nothing else, it ensures that a Nicolas Cage performance is entirely distinctive, no matter how good or bad the movie might be.

And if you worry about the man's sanity, he at least seems somewhat aware of how odd it all is. In his own words, "Today you’re called psychotic if you do [this], but it’s all semantics."

Though Cage has made the acting technique famous, he actually admits to having borrowed it from Brian Bates' 1987 book "The Way of the Actor," which draws extensive parallels between contemporary acting and the seers and shamans of milennia past.

This might literally define the phrase "method in the madness," honestly.


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