Nicolas Cage journeys deeper into sci-fi

Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:51pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nicolas Cage has battled terrorists, drug dealers, prisoners and even himself in a varied acting career, but in "Knowing," he may have met his toughest adversary yet -- Mother Nature.

"Knowing" debuts in theaters across the United States on Friday and once again has the Oscar-winning actor saving humankind, this time in a role that straddles science fiction and fantasy.

For Cage it marks a further step away from straightforward action in films like "National Treasure" that have become his best box office bets.

Cage, 45, gained fame playing mostly romantic oddballs in low-budget films such as the suicidal alcoholic in 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas," which won him the Oscar for best actor.

He then reshaped himself as an action hero in "Face/Off," "Con Air" and others.

"Most people in Hollywood at that time saw me as a kind of eccentric and not necessarily a 'manly eccentric'," he said in an interview when talking about his shifting image.

Now he is again spanning genres with films that delve into fantasy and science fiction but continue to play on his image as an action hero with his trademark streak of eccentricity.

Other upcoming film roles include a comic book hero in "Kick-Ass", a sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and a 14th-century knight in "Season of the Witch."   Continued...

<p>Nicolas Cage poses for a portrait while promoting the film "Knowing" in New York March 8, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>