Tiffany Haddish plays Vivian in the new action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which is currently in theaters. From filmmakers Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, the film is meant to be a sincere, authentic, and hilarious love letter to Nicolas Cage.
Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage must accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan. Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative and forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage.
I had a great time speaking with the actress over Zoom about memorable fan experiences, which role she wants to revisit, her favorite filming memories, her initial reaction to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and more!
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent has Nicolas Cage taking on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage. So, if a movie was being made about her life, who would Tiffany Haddish want to play her? “I don’t know who could play me. I remember when I was younger, I used to be like ‘Halle Berry is gonna be me.’ But I don’t know,” she responded. “It would probably have to be me. They’d probably have to CGI me younger, just like they did Nicolas Cage.”
The new film also has Pedro Pascal playing the superfan, so I asked the actress about a fan experience that stands out to her. “I ordered something off of one of those meal delivery services, I’m pretty sure it was Postmates,” she said. “I came to the door to get my food and the lady was like, ‘I didn’t believe it was gonna be you, but it’s you. I’m so proud of you that you’re still in the hood. You saved my life.’ I said, ‘how did I save your life?’ She was telling me how she had cancer, how she would watch all my comedy while she was in the hospital and getting chemo, and the fact that I made her laugh and that I told my story, just brought her so much joy that she was able to heal.”
When the comedian looks back on her career, there is one role she wouldn’t hesitate to revisit: Dina from Girls Trip. “Easy, no thought necessary,” she stated. “I wanna work with my girls so bad. I miss them so much. I mean, I talk to everybody from time to time but to be able to be like at work with my girls, that would be the dopest.”
The actress also added, “That movie touched so many women’s lives, like reevaluating their friendships, finding the true value in sisterhood, in female-to-female relationships. It doesn’t have to be about competition, who looks better, or what are you doing for me, just genuine friendship. Girl, I’ll start crying. I was like, ‘Dang, I wish I was in college so I could write an essay about it.’ My thesis would be off the chain.” Let’s be honest, we really need more movies about girls just having a good time. A sequel to Girls Trip would be amazing.
As for Haddish’s favorite memory from filming The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, she told me, “Pedro and I were kiking our asses off, and kiking means talking shit and laughing a lot. We weren’t even in any scenes together, really. There is a scene that we were in together but we were laughing too much, we were doing too much. They ended up deleting that scene, that scene got cut and it’s probably because we were playing too much. That’s what I think but maybe it didn’t work in the story. I don’t know but that was the only time that Pedro and I got to actually work together. But we were in Budapest, we were all staying at the same hotel and, you know, Nicolas does his thing but we all were getting together and we were having us a blast in Budapest. That’s all I’m gonna say. That’s all I can say because I’m a good friend.”
I think we can all agree that we need that scene with Pascal and Haddish to be released as part of the deleted scenes on The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent DVD. “They had me in some crazy wigs. Baby, this shit was hilarious. But it might not have served the purpose of the story so… it was just fun. We had a blast. Then there’s stuff that’s probably not on camera, that’s probably on the old security cameras,” the actress joked.
When she first heard about the project, she couldn’t believe Cage was involved. “I was like, ‘What? Nicolas Cage is gonna do — let me read this script.’ I read the script and I was like, ‘Are you sure Nicolas Cage is gonna do this?’ It was like, ‘Yeah, he’s doing it.’ I was like, wow, and then, I sat with the director on Zoom for like an hour. I really enjoy Tom,” she expressed to me. “I want to work with people that I have fun with, that I can laugh with, even if we’re doing a drama. Is it fun talking to you? Am I enjoying our conversations? And if so, that’s who I want to work with. So I was really excited about working with Tom, then I was more excited about working with Nicolas Cage. I wish that I would’ve got to meet him before our first day of work because the first take was really difficult for me. I’m still a human and Nicolas Cage’s movies have affected my existence in different ways, if you don’t know how, you should read some of the articles from back in the day, but he’s affected me, okay?”
She continued, “I wish I could have had a conversation with him before the first day at work, and then maybe it would have been an even easier, smoother day but we didn’t get to do that. So it was a little bumpy because my young teenage self and my hormonal self were like, ‘What is going on?! He’s right here. We can smell him. Look at the eyes, we know those eyes!’ But it all panned out well. I was super excited about working with Pedro too because I’m like, ‘Yo Narcos, this is gonna be crazy,’ and in Narcos, that’s where I knew him from, he wasn’t necessarily the funny guy. So I wasn’t sure what he was bringing to the table, but I was just excited to meet him. Also, when I met some of the other actors in it, I was like, ‘These are dramatic actors, this is not necessarily the comedy that I thought it was.’ So I was like, ‘I’m gonna put my drama hat on, bring my drama,’ and then I’m like, ‘Yo, everybody is fucking hilarious. Everybody is fun.’ It was so great.”
Recently, Haddish starred in the genre-bending, comedic murder mystery series, The Afterparty with her The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent co-star, Ike Barinholtz. This isn’t the first time the two have shared the screen together and it certainly seems like it won’t be the last. “Ike and I have worked together almost as much as Lil Rel and I have worked together. There’s a few people that I work with constantly and they’re usually my favorite people, when it comes to males anyways, no shade. But Ike and I first met on a movie called The Oath. We did that movie together, that he wrote and directed,” she told me. “Then The Afterparty comes about and they wanted to add another element to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. So they brought in Ike, and we did some reshoots with Ike; best workdays ever, when you get to work with your friends and man, we were kiking our butts off. We had a blast, it was fun.”
Lastly, we had to discuss if she took anything fun from set. “You know every now and then, I do steal stuff from set. I’m a little bit of a thief, little sticky fingers if you will, but I try to make sure that it’s in my contract before I even show up. But on this set, no, there was nothing that I wanted except for all of my costumes. That’s in my contracts though. I get the option to buy all my wardrobe before they try to sell it off or whatever. So if it’s something in there that I want, that’s not rented, then I have the option to buy it,” the actress explained. “You should see my storage. You’d be like, ‘What the hell is this?’ All the movies I’ve done that you have seen and yet to see. So the movie comes out on Friday, I’m gonna be hitting up the studio on Friday. Yeah, I’m ready to buy my clothes now, give me my clothes. I want my clothes.”