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Nicolas Cage says he probably didn't get paid for his Oscar-winning role in 'Leaving Las Vegas' — but he doesn't care

Nicolas Cage says he probably didn't get paid for his Oscar-winning role in 'Leaving Las Vegas' — but he doesn't care
  • Nicolas Cage says it's probably true he didn't get paid for "Leaving Las Vegas."

  • The role won him his one and only Oscar in 1996.

  • But he says he doesn't care because he "absolutely had to play" the part.

Nicolas Cage may have left a paycheck behind when he was leaving Las Vegas.

The actor, who played a suicidal alcoholic screenwriter, Ben Sanderson, in the 1995 film "Leaving Las Vegas," was largely unbothered when asked about the fact he may not have gotten paid for his Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning role.

On the red carpet at the SXSW Film & TV Festival on Monday, the actor told Business Insider it was "probably true" he didn't get paid for the movie.

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"But I haven't been thinking about it," Cage said.

The story first came to light when the film's writer-director, Mike Figgis, recalled in 2022 on The Hollywood Reporter's "It Happened in Hollywood" podcast that he and Cage never actually got paid the $100,000 apiece they were owed for their work on the movie because the company that financed the film said it "never went into profit" — despite earning $32 million at the box office against a $4 million budget.

Figgis wasn't concerned by the lack of pay, telling THR that his career — and Cage's — took off after the critical success of "Leaving Las Vegas," winning them awards and much bigger paydays for future projects.