Imagine loving like crazy a TV series. Imagine of being one of those fans who love everything about that show, from the directing to the brilliant writing. And maybe even to be a little “attached” to those characters that are so beautifully complicated. Imagine of being an actor or an actress and being taken to play a part of the second season of that TV series that you love so much. And imagine you can ask for advice from Him, the writer who has always accompanied your dreams as an actor, ever since you were a little kid. Imagine.
And imagine that all this happened to Patrick Cage who, in the second season of “Westworld” plays Phil, a new character, written by one of his favorite geniuses of cinema: Jonathan Nolan (“The Dark Knight,” “Interstellar” and “Memento”.)
We met Patrick in Los Angeles, precisely in West Hollywood, at the Harlowe Bar, a renovated 1930s cocktail bar: a rare gem in Los Angeles. The vintage atmosphere of the place was the background of our interview where Patrick told us about his dreams (not just those ones as an actor), his passion for music, how he prepared to play Phil in “Westworld” and his desire to be part of this new revolution of black superheroes.
Follow us in getting to know this young man with a contagious smile, who showed us not only his kindness but also his invincible dance moves.
What kind of stories did you want to tell when you decided to become an actor?
At the time I was just in love with performing and storytelling in general. I didn’t have a singular focus but now I just want to do my work, I want to help people heal. Because I think that we are all going through traumatic events in life and hardships and sometimes we feel alone in those things and I think films are a medium to show people we can all relate, everybody is going through something similar. I mean, maybe I’m not going through the exact same thing as you but if my character can showcase whatever traumatic event someone else is going through and start a process of healing for them, I’ve done my job.
The empathy you create with the audience is one of the most important aspect of your job…
Oh yes, I want show people that they are not alone, no thought that you’ve had, hasn’t be shared by somebody else. That’s the magic of film: being able to immediately connect with somebody around the world just throughout a camera and your words.
“…if my character can showcase whatever traumatic event someone else is going through and start a process of healing for them, I’ve done my job.”
Were you already familiar with the movie “Westworld” on which the show is based on?
I wasn’t familiar with it, but I was already a huge fan of the show. And so being a big fan of the show, of Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan it was amazing. Having them on set and ask them questions was amazing. I’ve looked up to Jonathan since “Memento” came out so it has been a dream of mine to work with him; so to have the chance now at 24 years old, it makes me feel very hopeful for the future. I ended up watching the 1970’s “Westworld” after I booked the role, just to see how it evolved into the TV show. I was really fascinated by it. I think that what Lisa and Jonathan did with that idea and expanding it, it’s just amazing.
How was working on your character Phil? Can you tell us something about him?
It was just fun to be a part of that world and to be a part of the story. Like I said, I was a fan of season 1 so, when I got into season 2, I was like: “Don’t mess up your favorite show!.” It was a lot of fun. I’m trying to be as vague as possible…(laugh)
Did you feel the pressure of it? Of acting on your favorite show?
Yes, 100%. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I mean, I do that with a lot of roles I think, but this one especially, just being with Lisa and Johnathan…I was such a huge fan! Every time I showed up to work I had to work at the highest level I’ve ever worked at. I had to be better than I was yesterday. Hopefully, we’ll see it soon. Now I remoted back to fan mode: I can’t wait for the show to come out!
You played also in other TV shows such as “This Is Us” and “Jane the Virgin”. How were those experience?
“This Is Us” was amazing. They flew us to Howard University to film those scenes with young Randall who is Niles Fitch and Milo (Ventimiglia), I think this was so fun. I never flew on location, so that was a first for me. And then Milo and Niles: he actually became a little brother after that shoot. I gained some family and that’s the cool part about doing the show: you get to meet all different types of people you necessary wouldn’t have met before and when there are all these true connections, you have lasting friends and family members after that so… “This Is Us” was amazing. There is a lot of love on that show.
“Jane the Virgin” was so fun, just because it was my first time on a primetime show so to be in that arena was a good level up. Every time something new happens I just feel so inspired.
“I had to work at the highest level I’ve ever worked at. I had to be better than I was yesterday.”
For you what was the most beautiful part of playing in “Westworld”?
Other than the sets and going into that world…probably working with Jonathan. That was such a big thing for me as a kid, it was my dream to be in a film written by Jonathan, directed by Christopher Nolan and scored by Hans Zimmer. And so, I think that was kind of like one piece of the puzzle. I cherished every moment he was on set and every time I got to ask him questions about my character and my journey, I took full advantage of these opportunities because when you get to work with the people you looked up to, when you get those moments you asked the Universe for, you take full advantage. So: Jonah and Lisa were my highlights.
“When you get to work with the people you looked up to, when you get those moments you asked the Universe for, you take full advantage.”
Is there a director or an actor you would love to work with?
As actors: Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Will Smith. I would love to do a movie with Robert De Niro now that he’s doing more kind of comedy things. As directors: Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. Oh yes, I would like to be on “Avatar” 4 or 5.
Or “Titanic 2″…
Or “Titanic 2” (laugh). There was definitely room for both of them on that door. She didn’t have to push him off.
When I saw the first “Avatar” I fell in love with the world and I went home and I cried because it wasn’t real and couldn’t go there. So, if I could be one of the Na’vi people, I think that it will come full circle.
What’s next for you?
I want to definitely jump into film. I want to focus more on a film and I’m considering jumping back to music. I have been playing music since I was 9. I went to a performing school in high school so that took me to play from 3 to 10 instruments. Music was more like a hobby for me at the time.
I was in a mariachi band in high school where I played the “guitaron,” I was in a jazz band playing saxophone. My mom really wanted for me to have a music background. It just became more of a fun outlet and a release. The pressure I can put on myself for acting I release in music, music is so personal: my words, my story. With acting I can hide behind a character, it’s not me, but with music is 100% me and I think I have to come at that point where I have to be ok with that scrutiny, negative feedback, of not feeling the rejection when it comes to music.
So, you would probably love to do a character like a musician.
I would LOVE to do that. A friend of mine and I were talking about that because of “The Greatest Showman,” we were listening to the soundtrack and I was like “I can totally see myself doing this.” Just like a big musical movie, showcasing that range. If there is a character that I fit into that can sing and dance and play, I’m so there.
What is the main purpose for you as an actor?
To tell stories and to help people heal. I really feel like movies have the power to have impact on people’s lives. It means to be a part of that story or to be the story that helps change somebody’s life or helps expand their way of consciousness and thinking. Anything that can help progress people because there is a lack of communication when it comes to mental problems within our society, we don’t really talk about mental instability and mental health enough. I think that can come down to any problem we have ever dealt with and it was traumatic for us and we didn’t deal with it properly, it can expand and transform in a multitude of different emotions. I think that dealing with that, starting a conversation… if I can do it, that’s the best goal.
“I really feel like movies have the power to have impact on people’s lives.”
NOW, ON THE FUN PART…
Must have on set: Chopsticks.
Superpower: Time travelling or to stop time, if you can stop time you can get anywhere.
Epic fail: Not rising to the magnitude of the scene. Couldn’t get the feelings down. It was rough.
Happy Place: My mom’s house.
Favorite accent: British.
Favorite movie: Right now, my favorite movie is “Black Panther” and my favorite movie as a kid “The Dark Knight” or “The Notebook.” People make fun of me about it, but I love it, it’s a beautiful movie, a beautiful story and it makes me cry.
Favorite word: Booked. Confirmed. You got the job.
You’d rather be: I want to play Blade, the superhero. If they would never do a reboot of Blade, I think I would make a great black vampire. I just want to play a dope superhero, now that there is a black superhero revolution.
Favorite quote: “Be like a God, work like a God.”
Last series you binge-watched: “Insecure” and “Silicon Valley”.
What you already crossed from your Bucket List: working for Jonathan Nolan. Going to Europe, I love Paris. I would love to go to London, I’ve been obsessed with it.
Fav spot in LA: If you want a breakfast sandwich you go to “Perfect Donut,” it’s the best. “Simply Awesome,” my favorite spot.
Photos and Video by Johnny Carrano.
Grooming by Nathaniel Dezan at Opus Beauty Using Baxter of California and Glossier.
Thanks to Harlowe Bar.