Nicolas Cage started his career in a number of critically acclaimed films, eventually winning an Oscar for his role as a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. However, soon after winning the award, he began appearing mainly in action movies. He starred in Face/Off, Con Air and Ghost Rider, curious choices for an actor who was as accomplished and acclaimed as he was.
The films brought him big paychecks, which he spent on real estate, a private jet, yachts, cars and jewelry. Compounding matters was an allegation by the Internal Revenue Service that he owed millions of dollars in back taxes, and there were also lawsuits from East West Bank and Red Curb Investments for unpaid loans, also equal to millions of dollars. In 2009 Cage put up much of his real estate for sale in order to pay his debts and avoid bankruptcy.