Lily Sheen on Working With Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal in Her First Movie
In our Q&A series Last Call, we get down to the bottom of every last thing with some of our favorite celebs – from the last time they were starstruck to the last song they listened to. This week, Lily Sheen takes our call.
Lily Sheen was uniquely qualified for her role in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” The actress plays Addy, the fictional daughter of Nicolas Cage, who plays a fictionalised, meta version of himself. Sheen’s real parents are actors Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen, but she tells POPSUGAR they’re nothing like the movie’s fake Nic Cage.
“I feel very lucky to be able to say I didn’t have this exact upbringing,” she says. “I think what was really interesting for me as an actor was to be able to create this character who was kind of this bizarro world version of myself. If my life had gone this way how would I react to situations? How would I react to my dad?”
The movie follows a washed-up Cage who’s struggling to book movies and to connect with his daughter and soon-to-be ex-wife (Sharon Horgan). Desperate, he takes an offer to appear at a rich man’s birthday party for one million dollars. But the CIA tells him the man in question, Javi (Pedro Pascal), is actually a dangerous drug lord, and they need his help to take him down.
“Every time I see Nic, I’m more starstruck than the last time. He’s so larger than life.”
Sheen knew she wanted to be involved as soon as she got her hands on the screenplay. She says, “It was the funniest script I’ve ever seen in my life . . . I felt immediately that I wanted to be a part of it, just to be able to celebrate Nic Cage, which is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of his actual cultural lexicon.”
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is Sheen’s first movie, outside of a few cameos in her mom’s films. Sheen says she felt lucky to learn from Cage in her role. “I’d been a fan since I was a little kid, so I had all these expectations and these hopes and he completely blew them out of the water. He was phenomenal, as a man and as an actor,” she explains.
Sheen felt a little out of her depth at first, especially when it came to the action scenes. “I didn’t want to mess anything up and I’m not a very athletic person so I was worried,” she says. But the cast and crew were so supportive that her fears melted away. She explained, “I felt very safe amongst the unity on the set, to be able to kind of test out things and take risks and look stupid, which is really important in a movie that’s so fun and light-hearted.”
“It’s such a celebration of male friendship and what creating something together artistically can do for friendship and it can be a force of good in the world,” Sheen says of the film. “I think no one could have played the part except Pedro, no one could have been at the helm of this movie except Nic.”
Keep reading to see what else Sheen has to say about the movie, her famous costars, and so much more in our Last Call interview.
What was the last day on the “Massive Talent” set like?
It was great. We were filming some of the scenes with me, Sharon, Pedro, and Nic when we’re all brought to the compound towards the end of the movie. It has been a long process, a long shoot, and everyone was really tired but really sad to leave each other. At that point, there was a looseness in the cast to be able to really play around – and Pedro was throwing out hilarious ad libs the entire day. It was very emotional for everyone. I think we were just happy we were able to get through this process and come out with this movie that’s so fun, and it’s such a celebration in so many ways of Nic’s career and of Nic as a man and of Hollywood in general. I think we were all just thrilled it had gone so well and so excited to see what would happen with it.
Besides “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” what was the last Nic Cage movie you watched?
It was “Pig.” I’ve watched “Pig” now multiple times. I can’t stop and I’ve been telling everyone to watch it. Now that I’ve mentioned it, I’ll probably watch it again tonight.
Who was the last “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” costar you texted?
Maybe Pedro. We were all in a group chat on set, and we would all text in it. On the last day, I think we all wanted to kind of individually reach out and say a big goodbye, and Pedro was so loving on set. He was amazing. It was like a set full of amazing dads. I definitely wanted to reach out to him and give a loving goodbye.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
Every time I see Nic, I’m more starstruck than the last time. He’s so larger than life. And it’s so crazy because he’s a movie star. In every sense of the word, he’s a movie star, and yet he’s also this lovely man who’s excited to see me, which is crazy.
What was the last song you listened to?
“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. It pumps you up, it gets you ready.
What was the last album you bought or streamed?
Summer Walker’s album (“Still Over It”), which I’m still working my way through. It’s so good.
What is the last photo in your camera roll?
I’m one of these people who takes a lot of random screenshots that I can’t remember why I took them anymore, so I think it’s probably some sort of screenshotted TikTok video for no reason. If you asked me why, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
I’m watching “Old Enough” on Netflix. I can’t believe it’s a real show. And these little kids, they really are old enough.
What was the last thing you bought online?
I moved into a new apartment last year and I’m still furnishing it over time. I just bought a new TV mount for the TV that’s been sitting unplugged on the floor for eight months.
What was the last book you read?
I read “The Amityville Horror” recently and it’s great. It’s written like “In Cold Blood,” like a true crime. I think I read it in four hours. Don’t read it at nighttime.
What was the last gift you received?
I got a beautiful leather coat for my birthday that I’ve been wearing everywhere. It’s from Urban Outfitters. Fake leather, of course, but it’s amazing. It makes me feel very Matrix-y. With the New York wind I have the back flying up. It’s really nice and dramatic.
What was the last trip you went on?
[The cast] going to Austin for SXSW. I’d never been to Austin before. It’s an incredible city. It was really alive at the time, but I could tell that’s how it is all the time. I rode the scooters around.
What was the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
Everyone tells me, “Stop overthinking.” I have just heard that, I will probably hear it later today. I will hear it tomorrow. Anxiety’s a killer. It’s a lifetime process trying to stop yourself from overthinking. I like to think it’s because I care very much, but I think it’s just because my brain is on fire.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” hits theatres everywhere on April 21.