In Claudia Puig's profile of Nicolas Cage ("He's Up. He's Down. He's Up. He's Down. He's Up for Good?" Feb. 4), she refers to his fee of $300,000" for "Leaving Las Vegas" as nominal. She goes on to say, referring to his fee for "The Rock," ". . . it must feel nice to be . . . taking home a paycheck this time around."
Surely, she jests. Perhaps, by industry standards, $300,000 was a pitifully low wage for Cage's wonderful performance in "Vegas." But that only reflects the ever-escalating, insanely high sums paid to entertainers these days. The same amount would seem like a fortune to most Americans, many with salaries of $20,000 to $40,000 and an eroding standard of living.
Puig says that "Leaving Las Vegas" was "so dark and grim that it had been turned down by every major studio." Is it not possible that it was rejected because it was a bad movie with an almost nonexistent story (which I found it to be when I saw it). The idea of a man drinking himself to death may be dark, but an idea is not necessarily a movie.
I'd like to clarify one passage in Puig's article concerning my current choices in artwork. As a collector, I am always expanding my viewpoints, but that in no way reflects negatively on any works in my existing collection, especially those by Robert Williams, who is my favorite artist. I treasure his work and consider him to be one of the most important painters of the 20th century.