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The Pig in ‘Pig’ Is Named Brandy, and Other Key Details from Nicolas Cage’s GQ Interview

5 important takeaways about the only film that exists for me, a normal person

Nicolas Cage and a pig. Courtesy Neon
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

If you, like me, watched the trailer for Pig, the new Nicolas Cage movie and have so many questions — questions that go far beyond “Who has Nic Cage’s pig?” — Gabriella Paiella’s interview with the Hollywood legend in GQ is an absolute gift.

“I’ve been drawn to screenplays where I don’t feel I have to act so much — that I have the life experience or the memories or the pathos, if you will, where I can just sort of more resonate,” Cage says. “Acting is imagination and you have to believe, to some extent, that you can be these characters and that you can be in these situations.”

Along with opening up about his acting process, Cage talks about his formative food memories (he was once rocked to sleep by nuns who gave him anisette?!!?!), and how he drew from his experiences with his pet crow and pet octopus to inform his portrayal of the film’s lead character, a chef-turned-truffle-forager who searches for his stolen truffle pig.

Here are the five key takeaways and best quotes from the interview:

1. The pig is REAL and she has a NAME and it is BRANDY.

I have to admit that watching the trailer, I wasn’t totally sure if the pig was a real pig or just wonderfully effective CGI pig. The trailer is very dark, it left room for confusion. Cage tells Paiella, however that the pig was named Brandy and that he “enjoyed working with her.”

2. Carrots were an important part of getting Brandy to shine on camera.

Cage says that like many of us, Brandy was “payment-oriented.” “She wasn’t that interested in people and I get that,” he says. “But if they need a very soulful look in her eyes, off-camera, you could show her a bit of carrot.”

3. Even before this film, Nicolas Cage was very interested in chefs.

Speaking about his experiences of quarantine, Cage brought up missing going out to eat. “That’s what I like to spend my money on, going to restaurants and talking to the chef. That’s almost a spiritual part of my life,” he says, referring to his genuine regard for chefs and what they can accomplish.” His role in Pig felt like an extension of that. “I put chefs at a very high level in the realm of art.”

4. Nicolas Cage is kind of like Remy from Ratatouille.

When speaking of his fondest food memories, Cage recalls his father, the academic August Coppola, introducing him to the magic of pairing food and wine, whether in the form of a bucket of KFC and champagne — “I’ll be darned if that wasn’t the best taste combination I’ve ever had. It was like this American tempura,” he recalls — or goat cheese and red wine. “‘Take this goat cheese and have this glass of red wine and sip it, now isn’t that something,’” he recalls his father saying. It is! It’s the Ratatouille flavor fireworks!!

5. Thanks to Nicolas Cage, one of the movie’s best lines didn’t get cut.

There’s a line in the screenplay that is so central to the themes of the film that it’s part of the trailer: “We don’t get a lot of things to really care about.” According to Cage, he had to fight to keep that line in the script. “At some point during the filmmaking process somebody wanted to cut the line and I said, ‘No, that’s the line! That’s why I wanted to play Rob. That’s what we can all relate to.’”

Nicolas Cage on the Magic of Working With Animals [GQ]