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Nicolas Cage Credits Rob Zombie With Flaubert Quote, Talks Cobras and Literal Holy Grail Quest in New Interview

In a new interview with The New York Times, Nicolas Cage offered a rare glimpse into his singularly peculiar lifestyle, covering topics as diverse as French literary realism and cobra ownership.

Asked about why he does so many movies, and whether or not it has anything to do with long-circuclating rumors about real estate debt, Cage was blunt. “Financial mistakes happened with the real estate implosion that occurred, in which the lion’s share of everything I had earned was pretty much eradicated,” he said. “But one thing I wasn’t going to do was file for bankruptcy. I had this pride thing where I wanted to work my way through anything, which was both good and bad. Not all the movies have been blue chip, but I’ve kept getting closer to my instrument.”

Cage also discussed his disinclination to leave the house: “I’d rather just stay at home. I don’t think I can decompress ever again, even at a karaoke bar. It’s too vulnerable… Rob Zombie once said to me, ‘Be as normal in your own life as you can be, so you can be as messed up as you want in your art.'”

The TimesDavid Marchese was quick to suggest that Zombie may have sourced that quote from Flaubert (“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work”), to which Cage replied that he wants “to be on the Axl Rose program.” He added that he’d prefer to “look at [his] sea horse,” and spend time with the works of Murakami and Bergman.

Cage also mentioned what may or may not be a literal quest for the Holy Grail of medieval legend. Quoth Cage: “That was the time when I almost went on — you might call it a grail quest. I started following mythology, and I was finding properties that aligned with that. It was almost like National Treasure.”

“One thing would lead to another,” he continued. “It’s like when you build a library. You read a book, and in it there’s a reference to another book, and then you buy that book, and then you attach the references. For me it was all about where was the grail? Was it here? Was it there? Is it at Glastonbury? Does it exist?”

Cage goes on to explain that he’s been to the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England, and that the water does in fact taste like the blood of Christ, though he concedes it could also have something to do with naturally-occuring iron. The Grail quest apparently led him to another ill-fated real estate endeavor in Rhode Island, where the Knights Templar are rumored to have built a mysterious, potentially Grail-related tower.

He also said the two pet king cobras he kept as pets influenced his acting. “They would try to hypnotize you by going side to side, and when I did Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, that’s something my character does before he attacks,” he said.

Check out the amazing full interview here.