The Wicker Man star claimed that the word “actor” implied a proficiency at lying, something that the term “thespian” avoids.
Cage made his feelings known while speaking on the most recent episode of the Variety Awards Circuit podcast.
He said: “I really don’t like the word actor because for me it always implies, ‘Oh, he’s a great actor, therefore he’s a great liar, and [great at] lying,’” Cage said. “So with the risk of sounding like a pretentious a-hole, I like the word ‘thespian’ because ‘thespian’ means you’re going into your heart.
“Or you’re going into your imagination, or your memories or your dreams, and you’re bringing something back to communicate with the audience. I think it’s more like recruiting imagination. Dare I say it, it’s more like a shamanism.”
Cage explained that “early shamans” would “go into flights of imagination to find answers to help their village”.
Conceding that he risked “sounding completely absurd and ridiculous”, the thespian continued: “I like looking at it like that… I like the idea of it being something a little more organic and less artificial.”
Cage’s next film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, sees him play a version of himself. The film is released later this year.