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Nicolas Cage Does Stint As <i>Family Man</i>

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Nicolas Cage plays a reluctant Family Man in his new movie. CBS News Entertainment Contributor Laurie Hibberd spoke with Cage about his role as a high-powered executive who gets to see what his life would have been like if he'd married his college sweetheart and became a New Jersey father.

"It was the first time I ever had to play somebody in an alternate universe, really," said Cage. "And to go through the transitions of trying to understand what's happening from Manhattan Jack, who is this wealthy, playboy businessman, who wakes up one morning and realizes he's in bed with his college sweetheart and he's married and he has kids is tricky."

The director, Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) said Cage was great at appearing real in a very surreal environment. Perhaps Cage had an advantage because he grew up in Los Angeles, a place considered surreal by many people. How does Cage stay so real in such an environment?

"Well, I've been doing it since I was 17. And now if it were different that would be surreal. So now this just seems normal," said Cage.

Cage's normal life has had its ups and downs. He is in the process of divorcing his wife of five years, actress Patricia Arquette. Yet he manages to create some harmony with his on-screen wife, played by Tea Leoni. A scene in The Family Man involving a piece of cake says everything about their marriage.

"We auditioned with that scene. We knew then -- we were putting the cake in each other's faces -- we were going to have some laughs. It was going to be a good time," said Cage.

For his next movie, Adaptation, Cage plays a guy named Charlie and Charlie's imaginary twin brother. He describes them as "two very sexually frustrated, fat guys."

Cage is "contractually obligated to gain 15 pounds" for the role. This might be license to enjoy life for some people, but Cage says, "That's going to be rough."

"I like to exercise. I feel better when I work out," he explains. "The exercise is really a way that I keep everything kind of together. That morning ritual of exercise. Sort of blow out the stress. I'll have to find something else to do...eat pizza."

The Family Man gives Cage's character a glimpse of his life if he weren't a New York executive. What would the glimpse look like in Cage's own personal life if he had chosen another path?

He recalls that when he was starting out as a young actor, "I was going to go on two more auditions and if the door got slammed on my face, I was going to be a fisherman. We'll never know. What if?"

Cage, the son of a literature professor (his father) and a dancer/choreographer, was born in Long Beach, California, in 1964. His academic record is not exemplary. According to Hollywood.com he was expelled from one elementary school and later dopped out of high school at the age of 17.

It's common knowledge that Cage changed his last name to Cage from Coppola because he didn't want to be accused of leaning on his famous director uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, in his acting career.

Cage's first movie was Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Some of his best known movies are Moonstruck, Raising Arizona and Peggy Sue Got Married. He won an Oscar for his portrayal of an alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. Cage is known for his sometimes-quirky movie roles.

Bel Air (2000)
Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000)
Shadow Of The Vampire (2000)
8MM (1999)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
City Of Angels (1998)
Snake Eyes (1998)
Welcome To Hollywood (1998)
Con Air (1997)
Face/Off (1997)
The Rock (1996)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Guarding Tess (1994)
It Could Happen to You (1994)
Trapped in Paradise (1994)
Amos and Andrew (1993)
Deadfall (1993)
Red Rock West (1993)
American Heroes and Legends - Davy Crockett (1992)
Davy Crockett (1992)
Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
Zandalee (1991)
Firebirds (1990)
Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (1990)
Wild at Heart (1990)
Tempo di Uccidere (1989)
Vampire's Kiss (1989)
Never on Tuesday (1988)
Moonstruck (1987)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Boy in Blue (1986)
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Birdy (1984)
Racing with the Moon (1984)
The Cotton Club (1984)
Rumble Fish (1983)
Valley Girl (1983)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)