Last week, images of a puffed corn stick emblazoned with Nicolas Cage's bearded, squinting, bespectacled face emerged alongside glorious headlines like "Nicolas Cage becomes a Japanese snack food as the Nicolastick is born" and "Nicolas Cage Is Now a Japanese Snack Called the 'Nicolastick.'" The story was everywhere.
The Umaibō-style snack was said to be part of a promotional campaign for Cage's upcoming film Army of One (which is awkwardly titled My Target, Bin Laden in Japan), and the packaging—featuring a hirsute but happy Nic Cage—was ostensibly a tie-in for the movie.
It was a beautiful mix of pop culture, Japanese kitsch, and Nicolas Cage weirdness, and once this absurd but perfect ratio emerged, it became hard to put the bunny back in the box.
There's just one problem. Nicolas Cage wants absolutely nothing to do with these snacks.
While the whole thing wasn't exactly fake news, it seems as though Riska, the company that manufactures Umaibō sticks, did not have permission to use Nic Cage's likeness. According to a press release obtained by MUNCHIES with the glorious subject line "NICOLAS CAGE IS IN NO WAY ENGAGED WITH AN ENDORSEMENT FOR THE JAPANESE SNACK FOOD BRAND RISKA," the product did indeed exist, but was never intended to be sold or endorsed by Cage.
"Over the past week numerous media outlets have falsely posted a story that Nicolas Cage is endorsing the Japanese snack brand Riska," said the film's international sales agent FilmNation International. The press release goes on to clarify that the puffed corn sticks were only meant to be given to moviegoers, though even that seems to have been unauthorized:
"Nicolas Cage is in no way engaged with an endorsement for the Japanese snack food brand Riska as recently reported in the news media. Mr. Cage had no prior knowledge that the product was being created, nor did he grant permission to use his likeness in this way. The items were created for the Japanese release of MY TARGET, BIN LADEN (released as ARMY OF ONE in the US) and bore the artwork from the film. They were limited in number and purely intended to be promotional items that would be supplied to movie ticket holders in three theaters. All parties responsible for the creation and announcement of this promotional product sincerely apologize for the use of Mr. Cage's image in this manner and any harm that may have been caused to him and his image and reputation."
One couldn't be blamed for thinking that Cage had indeed endorsed a Japanese brand, given that he has lent his Kabuki-style acting chops to Japanese commercials in the past.
But as for the My Target, Bin Laden Umaibō sticks, it seems that Riska will have to take Nicolas Cage's face… off. Get it?