There are a lot of Nicolas Cage haters out there, and we tried to get some answers for them when we interviewed Cage over the holidays. The press conference for his latest film, Drive Angry, revealed more than we could have imagined. First of all, he admits he’s not looking to win another Oscar.

“As you might’ve guessed, I don’t really use it as a criteria to choose my movies,” Cage said. “My interests are a pretty acquired taste that I have. The movies that I enjoy watching personally are movies that really frustrate my wife and that you can’t really get on Amazon. So it’s an interest in Roger Corman movies and the midnight movies. I like Ray Harryhausen.”

He picks the movies that won’t hold him back, not the most “respectable” movies, on purpose. “I like fantasy. I like horror, science fiction because I can get avant-garde with those performances in those movies. Inherently, I’m able to be abstract and “modern art” if you will because the movies are inherently out there and I can still connect with audiences. I can’t do that in down and dirty dramas. I can’t do that unless I go outsid the box. Or, if I’m playing a character who’s on drugs like Bad Lieutenant, then I can get pretty out there. Otherwise I have to look at supernatural movies or science fiction movies to get more avant-garde.”

Some have called Cage’s style Mega-acting. Some describe it with a string of obscenities. Taking what we could glean from the history of De Niro and Olivier, Cage came up with his own method. “I’d developed my own style and process and school of acting which is called Nouveau Shamanic. That’s the new style of acting and at some point I’ll have to write a book.”

If the idea of Nic Cage as a Shaman scares you, maybe you should face your fear like he did making Drive Angry. “I was also uncomfortable with the script and I was just going through this phase in my life where I learned that if something makes you uncomfortable or fearful in any way, within reason that’s exactly what you should confront. So it was an experiment on that level that I should confront the violence in the movie because it had been a long time since I’d made a violent movie.”

There are simpler criteria too. This one explains both Drive Angry and Season of the Witch. “Initially what I was attracted to was the idea that I was going to get my eye shot out. The movie Season of the Witch, I wanted to get my eye shot out with a bow and arrow, and the producers didn’t go for it. We never really got there. Even though they said they would, it never really happened. So when Patrick Lussier said to me and just handed to me on a silver platter you’re going to get your eye shot out in a movie, I don't know why but I just immediately said yes, I’m in because it was something that I wanted to do. It’s as simple as that.”

He also wanted to drink beer out of a human skull, and he does in Drive Angry. “I wanted to see if there could be any way in my presentation of the skull to make the beer slosh out of the eye in such a way that my cup runneth over and have it look really inviting and appetizing and make people in the audience go, ‘Wow, I know it sounds crazy, but I’d really kind of like to drink beer from someone’s skull right now.’ That was the challenge.”

Still, Cage didn’t just phone it in after the eye and the skull bits. He thought a lot about who Milton, a man escaped from hell, would be. “When he was alive, he was probably listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Holly, but after he broke out of hell, it’s all just wind chimes and Ravi Shankhar. No lyrics. Absolutely no lyrics.”

Next up for Cage is a return to comic books in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The Neveldine/Taylor sequel/reboot gave him an angle to try Johnny Blaze again. “We got up to some stuff as Ghost Rider that the two of us designed together that I think is really going to mess with people’s minds. It’s not going to be like any other comic book movie you’ve seen. We keep stressing that Ghost Rider is the most supernatural superhero of all and that’s really going to come out in this movie.”