Not long ago, Nicolas Cage was just another Hollywood actor with some famous relatives (his uncle is director Frances Ford Coppola), but since the mid-2000s, Cage has morphed into a hero of the e-world. Cage's trademark deadpan performances and unintentionally comedic delivery have spawned meme after meme, and the fact that he not only knows that he is the butt of these internet jokes, but gamely goes along with it, makes him a veritable web icon.
It all started in 2005, when website community YTMND, (You're The Man Now, Dog!) started creating simple graphics of Cage with text and looping audio. These images were some of the earliest internet memes, and they included gems such as "Nicolas Cage Loves Mario Kart," "Cage Rampage," "Nic Cage has Great Hair," "Cage Loves Katamari," and "Nic Cage Doesn’t Change Facial Expressions."
In 2006, after starring in the regrettable film, The Wicker Man, Cage's internet meme-makers kicked it up a notch. Thanks to some strange lines from the movie, along with Cage's trademark intensity and commitment to the role (read: overacting), memes like "Not the bees!" and "How'd it get burned?" surfaced.
Cage remained in the celebrity gossip news often during the next few years, thanks to well-publicized financial and marital problems, along with the fact that he never seems to stop making movies. To date, Cage has 78 acting credits on his IMDB profile.
In 2007, a screen shot from set of the 2007 sci-fi action film Next, brought on the next, and arguably the funniest, Cage-based meme. The image showed a be-wigged Cage with a fake bird on his head, with the text, "Your argument is invalid" emblazoned across the bottom. The expression is often used during online arguments.
Over the next few years, Cage would be continuously parodied and spoofed for his many acting roles in movies that were, well, not great. A still shot from the 1988 black comedy "Vampire's Kiss," for instance, inspired the very funny, "You Don't Say" meme, in which Cage sports an incredulous facial expression that makes Cage look downright crazy. The image would eventually be turned into a contour drawing by a Reddit user, and now the drawing has become a certifiable "Rage Face" comic in 2011. These days, you can't go to any of the major humor sharing sites without seeing a "You Don't Say" rage comic.
As if taking stills from his movies and adding funny text weren't funny enough, internet users soon found another way to lampoon their favorite everyman actor. Using Photoshop, people soon started replacing actors' faces with Cage's face. The phenomenon quickly went viral, and soon there was an entire blog devoted to these images, called, appropriately, Nicolas Cage As Everyone. If you have ever wondered what Nic Cage would look like as a panda, or as a cast member in the Harry Potter movies, this blog is for you.
Finally, in 2011 an eBay item caused a stir online once again. The item for sale was a 1870s photo showing a Tennessee man with a strong resemblance to the Cage. In the listing, the seller claimed that Cage is a vampire who reinvents himself every 75 years so as not to arouse suspicion. After receiving, and declining, 78 offers, the item disappeared from eBay. The "Nic Cage is a Vampire" situation spurred a slew of photos that claimed to show immortal actors, including one with actor John Travolta.
The best part about Cage's internet fame is that he seems to embrace it. Instead of being perturbed by the attention, Cage pokes fun at himself and uses the internet to expand his fan base. He even appeared on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update in 2011, where he joined an identically-dressed Andy Samberg in joking about cloning himself so that he could star in "100% of all movies," instead of a measly 90%. The bit is hilarious.