Nicolas Cage wants to pay a sweet tribute to his uncle, acclaimed director and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola. The actor, who is expecting a child with wife Riko Shibata, told GQ that he’s already picked out the name Akira Francesco as an homage to Coppola, who changed his moniker to Francesco.
If the baby is a girl, Cage and Shibata will go with the name Lennon Augie, which is a hat tip to Cage’s father who was nicknamed Augie.
Cage is already dad to two sons, Kal-El, 16, and Weston, 31, from previous relationships. Kal-El was named after another important — albeit fictional — figure in pop culture.
“My wife wanted a unique name and originally I thought of the name Kyle and then she said, ‘No, something more unusual but beautiful.’” Cage told PEOPLE in 2007. “Then I remembered the old Superman comics and Kal-El was his original name on Krypton. So I wanted a name that stood for something good, was unique and American and that’s all three.”
Both Kal-El and Weston have Coppola in their name. Cage, though, dropped the surname early in his career, to try to separate himself from his famous uncle. “Casting agents would spend the entire audition asking about my Uncle Francis,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
There was some unfortunate teasing, too. “I was the brunt of jokes because my name was still Coppola,” Cage said. “On the set, some of the actors would get together outside my trailer and recite a version of Robert Duvall’s line from ‘Apocalypse Now.'”
That’s not to say that Cage doesn’t have a close bond with his uncle. There’s clearly a lot of love there if he’s borrowing Coppola’s name for his own children. Plus, sometimes Cage hits Coppola up about an exciting movie part — even if it doesn’t always pan out.
“Uncle was doing Godfather III, and I said, ‘I really think I ought to be in your movie, Uncle. I really think it’s a good idea if you would cast me,” Cage told The Hollywood Reporter this year. “He was going to cast Andy Garcia, and I said, ‘But I just see myself more as James Caan’s son’…It just wasn’t going to happen. Nope, not going to happen. So that was a movie I didn’t get let in that I really wanted to be in. There.”
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