Rourke would go on to receive an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
In an interview with slashfilm.com, Aronofsky said of Cage's decision to leave the film that "Nic was a complete gentleman, and he understood that my heart was with Mickey and he stepped aside.
Cage received lauds for his performance, with Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune writing "Herzog has found his ideal interpreter, a performer whose truth lies deep in the artifice of performance: ladies and gentlemen, Nicolas Cage, at his finest." In 2010, Cage starred in the period piece Season of the Witch, playing a 14th-century knight transporting a girl accused of causing the Black Plague to a monastery, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, in which he played the sorcerer.
He voiced the character Grug Crood in the animated film The Croods, which was released in 2013.
He earned his second Academy Award nomination for his performance as Charlie and Donald Kaufman in Adaptation (2002).
The film is shot by the Pang Brothers and has a distinct South-East Asian flavor.
In 2009, Cage starred in the science fiction thriller Knowing, directed by Alex Proyas.
He portrayed a corrupt police officer with gambling, drug and alcohol addictions.
The film was very well received by critics, holding a rating of 87% positive reviews on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.