Nicolas Cage Is an Internet Meme Again in a Kazakhstan Outfit

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Nicolas Cage poses in traditional garb with first lady Sara Nazarbayeva at the Astana Film Festival in Kazakhstan. Fabrice Deprez

When this baffling photo of Nicolas Cage, below, first appeared on my Twitter timeline, I assumed he was off shooting a movie—either in Russia or in some heavily whitewashed, Hollywood version of Central Asia. (So it goes.) Turns out the truth is closer to the latter—except Cage is neither in costume nor in character. That is a photo of Cage himself, in traditional Kazakh attire, attending the Astana Film Festival in Kazakhstan.

Look, Nick Cage is a hilarious entity on his own. Nick Cage wearing an ornate Kazakh robe over a dress shirt and tie is even funnier. That slightly exasperated look from Kazakhstan's first lady, Sara Nazarbayeva, as she stands next to him? Funnier still. But internet meme currency is a precious commodity, and Twitter had to quickly decide which chuckle-worthy detail of this photo was ubiquitous enough to be reduced, reused and recycled for the next 24 hours of jokes. And so, they chose Cage's thousand-yard stare.

I mean, yes, the outfit combined with the gaze is what's especially funny. But I can't imagine this spreading as much as it did if Cage had looked happy to be in Kazakhstan wearing traditional garb. Then again, most anything Cage touches turns into internet humor gold. Who could forget his memorable "not the bees" line from cinematic masterpiece The Wicker Man?

Or, "I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence," an equally memorable line from the second-most-patriotic movie ever made, National Treasure? (The first is Independence Day.)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cage is the festival's VIP guest, and he said he "would be happy to appear in a local film." And just like that, a hundred buddy-comedy script options appeared out of thin air.

Nicolas Cage Is an Internet Meme Again in a Kazakhstan Outfit | Culture