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Elon Musk’s Work at Tesla Stopped Nicolas Cage’s Plan to Build an $80 Million Film Studio in Las Vegas

Nicolas Cage once secured $80 million to get a movie studio built in his hometown of Las Vegas, but the project ultimately never went through after Elon Musk brought Tesla into the city. The actor revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 20 that once the entrepreneur arrived in Nevada, investors decided to instead put their money into the Tesla corporation instead of the film studio, Variety is reporting.

Las Vegas has been the backdrop for some of Cage’s most popular movies throughout his career, including Leaving Las Vegas and Honeymoon in Vegas. He won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas.

Cage told the late night talk show’s eponymous host, Kimmel, that he originally moved to Las Vegas for tax reasons, but “then I learned to love it.” The actor also noted, “I’ve had great experiences making movies there. Leaving Las Vegas was great. Honeymoon in Vegas is great. I’ve got good mojo there.

Cage then delved into his missed opportunity to build his desired film studio in Las Vegas. “I tried to get a movie studio built there and then Elon Musk came in, and all the money I got for the movie studio – I got $80 million – they put into the Tesla corporation, which then ironically drained all of the water out of the city. But I almost got it, I almost got a movie studio,” he shared.

Despite losing his investments to Musk and the Tesla corporation, “Vegas has been good to me, it really has,” Cage admitted. “It’s both a small town and a big city. It’s probably one of the most unique addresses. If you want to go to the strip and participate you can. If you want to just go with the locals and go to the cool restaurants then you can.”

Cage shared the news about his movie studio plans falling through during his press tour for his new action crime comedy, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which he plays a fictionalized version of himself. Lionsgate released the film, which was co-written and directed by Tom Gormican, in theaters yesterday, April 22.

While discussing the film with IndieWire, Cage revealed that he turned down the role three or four times before agreeing to play himself onscreen. “I got a letter from Tom, a smart letter, a well-written letter,” he shared. “He went on about some of the early work and his genuine enthusiasm as a cinephile of sorts, a film enthusiast with movies like Leaving Las Vegas and Face/Off. He was somebody that seemed to be coming from a genuine place in terms of the early work.”

Cage, who also served as a producer on The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, added that he did have one addition to the script that capitalized on his 2006 Wicker Man remake, which is constantly referenced in memes. “I’m hopeful that these mashups like Cage Rage or ‘not the bees’ or whatever they’re having fun with inspires the millennial or the Z generations to go and look at the movies that got them there. They built that, so why not have fun with it?”

The actor concluded, “If I can get at least one or two scenes that linger in your imagination I’ve done my job. That’s why I’m able to find things in movies that perhaps to other actors might be considered not appropriate to one’s career trajectory. That doesn’t bother me, because I like to work.”

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which has garnered critical acclaim since it had its world premiere at last month’s SXSW, follows Cage, who’s in need of money, as he accepts a $1 million offer to spend time with an extremely wealthy fan named Javi (Pedro Pascal). However, the fan is a criminal, and Cage gets enlisted by the CIA to work against his new friend. The actor will have to take cues from the iconic characters he’s played throughout his career to be able to make it out of this situation in one piece.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Karen Benardello
Karen Benardello
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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