If you thought a New York Times profile of Nicolas Cage might be a magical and atypical ride, you're right. David Marchese sat down twice with the actor, and the wide-ranging interview that results is chock full of gems about Cage's early days, why he does so many films, his "nouveau shamanic" acting choices, where his head is at right now, and how he literally did get sucked into trying to find the Holy Grail. Before diving into some of the odder details about his life that have attracted press—like the two king cobras he had that he told David Letterman had a desire to kill him—he makes clear that there are no drugs in his life and he only drinks between movies. "Wine or Champagne is like an eraser to a chalkboard. You can erase the character and make a clean slate so you can start making a new character. I hope that makes sense."
But yeah, he says those cobras really did try to hypnotize him—and ended up in a zoo; he says he mimicked their behavior in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. His recounting of the character choice he made while reluctantly filming Peggy Sue Got Married (he decided to talk "like Pokey from The Gumby Show") with "Uncle" (that would be Francis Ford Coppola) delves into an explainer of why he hates the play Our Town. As far as recollections go, he recounts how he helped launch Johnny Depp's career over a game of Monopoly. And then there was the time his life "was almost like National Treasure," and he went on what "you might call ... a grail quest" that ran from Glastonbury and the Chalice Well—where "there's a spring that does taste like blood"—to Rhode Island, which he found lovely enough to buy property there. "What I ultimately found is: What is the Grail but Earth itself?" (Read the full interview here.)