Nicolas Kim Coppola (born January 7, 1964), known professionally as Nicolas Cage, is an American actor, producer and director. Cage has appeared in over 60 films including Moonstruck (1987), Raising Arizona (1987), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997), Con Air (1997), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Adaptation (2002), National Treasure (2004), Lord of War (2005), Ghost Rider (2007), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), Knowing (2009), Kick-Ass (2010), and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012). In 2013, he voiced the character of Crug in the animated film The Croods.
He was born Nicolas Kim Coppola on January 7, 1964, in Long Beach, California, to parents August Floyd Coppola, a professor of literature, and Joy (Vogelsang), a dancer and choreographer. He was raised in a Catholic family. His father was of Italian descent and his mother is of German and Polish descent. His paternal grandparents were composer Carmine Coppola and actress Italia Pennino, and his paternal great-grandparents were immigrants from Bernalda, Basilicata, Italy. Through his father, Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, and the cousin of directors Roman Coppola and Sofia Coppola, film producer Gian-Carlo Coppola, and actors Robert Carmine and Jason Schwartzman. Cage's two brothers are New York radio personality Marc "The Cope" Coppola and director Christopher Coppola. He attended Beverly Hills High School, which is known for its many alumni who became entertainers. He aspired to act from an early age and also attended UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. His first non-cinematic acting experience was in a school production of Golden Boy.
To avoid the appearance of nepotism as the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, he changed his name early in his career to Nicolas Cage, inspired in part by the Marvel Comics superhero Luke Cage. Since his minor role in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with Sean Penn, Cage has appeared in a wide range of films, both mainstream and offbeat. He tried out for the role of Dallas Winston in his uncle's film The Outsiders, based on S.E. Hinton's novel, but lost to Matt Dillon. He was also in Coppola's films Rumble Fish and Peggy Sue Got Married.
Other Cage roles included appearances in the acclaimed 1987 romantic-comedy Moonstruck, also starring Cher; The Coen Brothers cult-classic comedy Raising Arizona; David Lynch's 1990 offbeat film Wild at Heart; a lead role in Martin Scorsese's 1999 New York City paramedic drama Bringing Out the Dead; and Ridley Scott's 2003 quirky drama Matchstick Men, in which he played an agoraphobic, mysophobic, obsessive-compulsive con artist with a tic disorder.
Cage has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, winning once for his performance as a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. His other nomination was for his portrayal of real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and Kaufman's fictional twin Donald in Adaptation. Despite these successes, most of his lower-profile films have performed poorly at the box office compared to his mainstream action/adventure roles. The suspense thriller 8mm (1999) was not a box office success, but is now considered a cult film. He took the lead role in the 2001 film Captain Corelli's Mandolin and learned to play the mandolin from scratch for the part. He made his directorial debut with 2002's Sonny. In 2005, two offbeat films he headlined, Lord of War and The Weather Man, failed to find a significant audience despite nationwide releases and good reviews for his acting in those roles. Poor reviews for The Wicker Man resulted in low box office sales. The much criticized Ghost Rider (2007), based on the Marvel Comics character, fared better, earning more than $45 million (the top earner) during its opening weekend and over $208 million worldwide through the weekend ending on March 25, 2007. Also in 2007, he starred in Next, which shared the concept of a glimpse into an alternate timeline with Cage's film, The Family Man (2000).
Most of Cage's movies that have achieved financial success were in the action/adventure genre. In his second-highest grossing film to date, National Treasure, he plays an eccentric historian who goes on a dangerous adventure to find treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States. Other action hits include The Rock, in which Cage plays a young FBI chemical weapons expert who infiltrates Alcatraz Island in hopes of neutralizing a terrorist threat, Face/Off, a John Woo film where he plays both a hero and a villain, and World Trade Center, director Oliver Stone's film regarding the September 11, 2001 attacks. He had a small but notable role as the Chinese criminal mastermind Dr. Fu Manchu in Rob Zombie's fake trailer Werewolf Women of the S.S. from the B-movie double feature Grindhouse.
Cage made his directorial debut with Sonny, a low-budget drama starring James Franco as a male prostitute whose mother (Brenda Blethyn) serves as his pimp. Cage had a small role in the film, which received poor reviews and a short run in a limited number of theatres. Cage's producing career includes Shadow of the Vampire, the first effort from Saturn Films.Source: Wikipedia