Lily Sheen Says Playing Nicolas Cage’s Daughter Is ‘Cathartic’ After Her Own Upbringing

”I was lucky enough to not have this exact upbringing, but having a dad that is Nick Cage, having a family member that is in the industry, it can be difficult,” actress tells LA Mag
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Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen’s 23-year-old daughter, Lily Sheen, is starring in her first Hollywood film, and as the daughter of Nicolas Cage nonetheless. 

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent shares how the fictionalized version of Cage struggled to balance the demands of a once upon a time iconic action star with the genuine attention his wife and daughter need. On the heels of a divorce and going broke, Cage is forced to accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a wealthy super fan. What starts out as a get rich quick plan rapidly turns into an adrenaline soaked adventure, where the actor is forced to live up to his own legend by channeling his most iconic on-screen characters in order to save not only himself, but also his distant daughter. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage. 

“What was really cool for me, especially as an actor and someone who did find parallels to the character itself, was finding the comparisons and contradictions between me and [my character] Addy,” Sheen told Los Angeles magazine. 

“I was lucky enough to not have this exact upbringing, but having a dad that is Nick Cage, having a family member that is in the industry, it can be difficult and relationships can really easily be frayed,” she added. “So being able to find the parts of my life that kind of did relate and the parts that I felt very lucky not to relate to was really interesting. I was able to forge a character out of my body that I could find catharsis through in a way.”

Sheen understood from experience how her character felt growing up under the shadows of her parents, but she was fascinated by how she and her character handled the extra attention in vastly different fashions. 

“One of the differences was she is so sure of herself. She’s so strong and really aware of who she is and is adamant about being recognized for really her own personality and uniqueness, so that was something I actually couldn’t really relate to,” Sheen said. “I felt it’s a constant process for me finding my identity and being able to play someone who is so young and so sure of herself was really amazing.” 

Now Sheen is excited to step into her own spotlight and witness the role reversal as her parents attend and support her at her own movie premieres. 

“They’ve been fantastic, they’re so supportive. They were really excited,” she said. “My mom was telling me to ask Nick all these kinds of questions, you know, very typical mom stuff. She was in the premiere with her phone up filming everything and when my name came up at the end, she was screaming. It was amazing. It felt really good for her to support me and for the role reversal to happen.” 

Those mom questions not only helped Sheen build a strong bond with the title actor, but also created a comfortable space for Cage to teach her on-set protocols. 

“Nick is phenomenal. He’s the ideal scene partner to have as an actor and he’s incredibly giving and patient with every other actor on set, especially with me, which was really important for our relationship as well,” Sheen said. “It was difficult because I liked him so much as a person that when I had to go yell at him about being a bad father, it was awful. I felt horrible about it, but he made it really easy to have a natural connection to him as well because he was so forthcoming behind the scenes with me about his career, his interests and his hobbies. We ended up being able to forge a real bond that I think does kind of show through.”  

That bond almost made Sheen feel like she found a second father in Cage.

“I hope he feels the same,” Sheen admitted. “He’s fantastic, but his own real family is really important to him so I wouldn’t want to do anything to take him away from his own kids.” 

All in all, Sheen is just excited for Cage fans to get nostalgic and celebrate an “icon” in her newest flick. 

“This story is so special and individual. I haven’t seen anything like this. It really is just this fun celebration of Nick Cage who is an icon. I felt so proud that I was able to be a part of Nick’s lexicon,” she said. “I’m so excited. I love this movie, so I’m so excited for everyone else to love it too. It is really exciting.” 

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is now playing in theaters.