Some people love peanut butter and chocolate. Others prefer chicken and waffles. Nicolas Cage’s favorite flavor combination is… KFC and champagne.
It all goes back to a childhood memory that still tickles his taste buds today. “I was 9 years old, and my father brought home a bucket of Colonel Sanders original recipe and a bottle of champagne,” Cage tells Yahoo Entertainment. “The combination of this Americanized tempura chicken and champagne was absolutely unforgettable. I don’t know if I’d recommend doing that with anyone’s 9-year-old, but it was fun at the time!” (Watch our video interview above.)
Even now, at 57, Cage hasn’t lost the youthful appetite for KFC that his dad August Coppola — author and brother of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola — instilled in him decades ago. “Whenever I make a movie, it’s my wrap present to myself,” he reveals. “At the end of the movie I’ll go and get a bucket of original recipe and that’s how I celebrate.”
Cage headed straight to KFC after finishing his latest film, Pig, which opens in theaters on July 16. Written and directed by Michael Sarnoski, the film is equal parts revenge story, grief-laden drama and cooking lesson — all simmered at just the right level. Cage plays Rob, a chef-turned-truffle hunter who lives alone in the Pacific Northwest woods with only his pig for company. When his porcine companion is stolen away in the dead of night, Rob makes the pilgrimage to Portland, where he was foodie royalty before giving it all up for his hermetic existence.
While Cage does share the screen with human actors in Pig — including Hereditary star Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin — his strongest emotional connection is with the title character, played by a pig named Brandy. “She’s no longer with us, sadly,” he says of his co-star. “We got our best work in terms of her soulful gaze and meeting the right marks when there was a bit of food she could look at or go towards. I really love animals, and it’s always a pleasure for me to work with them, whether it be a pig or a horse or a dog. I enjoy those experiences.”
In his own life, Cage is well-known for the menagerie of reptiles he’s owned over the years, including a pair of king cobras that he credited with influencing his performances. “The thing that I’ve noticed with most reptiles is that they just want to be left alone,” he observes. “Like, ‘Please don’t pick me up, just go away.’ There are times when all of us feel a little like that.”
If you’re looking to pair a meal with a viewing of Pig — and don’t care for the combination of KFC and champagne — allow Cage to program an alternate menu for the evening. “I make a pretty good seafood arrabbiata pasta,” he says, going on to outline his exact recipe in a level of detail that would impress any Food Network chef. “Cooking is timing: that’s really your main tool,” he notes, sagely. “Most people have a really good time with my dish. I’m proud of it.”
Pig opens July 16 in theaters
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment