Nicolas Cage entered the world of superheroes by voicing Superman in this summer's Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, but his comic book adventure doesn't end there. This winter, you'll also hear him in Marvel/Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, where he plays Spider-Man Noir, an alternate-reality version of the iconic webslinger from the 1930s.
To get into the head of his Depression-era character, Cage wanted to emulate the grizzled, cynical, and quick-witted private eyes in the film noirs of Hollywood's Golden Age. Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep immediately come to mind, and that's exactly what Mr. Cage was shooting for in his voice performance.
“I tried to channel those noir films with [Humphrey] Bogart, and have those kinds of sounds that he might make with [James] Cagney, or Edward G. Robinson, that kind of way of talking,” Cage said during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I tried to give the character that. It was a lot of fun. I think it should be quite funny. The movie definitely has a sense of humor, and that’s a good thing, because it’s good for the whole family.”
Created by Fabrice Sapolsky and David Hine, Spider-Man Noir first appeared in December of 2008. Despite a lot of the character names being similar to the ones we know in the mainstream Marvel Universe, their origins and motivations are quite different in the '30s.
For example, words like "radioactive" weren't widespread until after World War II, so the young Peter Parker in this reality was bitten by a spider that crawled out of an ancient statue, which was smuggled into the States by the notorious mob boss the Goblin (a noir-ized version of the Green Goblin). With his newly manifested powers, Parker becomes a hardened, gun-toting, trench-coat-wearing, goggle-eyed protector of a city full of sin and iniquity.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings into theaters Dec. 14, and with Cage's Bogart-y contribution, it'll be the stuff that dreams are made of.