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Actor Cage fell hard for German castle: estate agent

ETZELWANG, Germany (Reuters Life!) - U.S. actor Nicolas Cage decided to buy an 11th century Bavarian castle because he felt it was right for him the minute he walked through the gate, his real estate agent said.

Actor Nicolas Cage arrives at the red-carpet for the 'Goldene Kamera' award given by a popular German television magazine in Berlin in this February 1, 2007 file photo. U.S. actor Nicolas Cage decided to buy an 11th century Bavarian castle because he felt it was right for him the minute he walked through the gate, his real estate agent said. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Cage, who won an Academy Award for best actor in “Leaving Las Vegas”, sent a simple email to German agent Sabine Gammel in early 2006 inquiring about the 28-room Schloss Neidstein near the town of Etzelwang, population 1,500.

“I had two castles listed on a website and got a completely normal email from a completely normal AOL address asking something like ‘How much do the castles cost?’,” Gammel said in an interview with Reuters Television.

“Then I sent him the price lists and got an email back in which he wrote ‘My name is Nicolas Cage. I don’t know if you know me. I’m an actor and I’m interested in your castle.’ I was rather stunned by it all.”

She later took Cage to inspect the castle -- which has 10 bedrooms, five bathrooms and sits on a 165-hectare (395 acres) piece of land filled with forests and meadows -- and reports he was instantly hooked even though it was in need of repair.

“Sometimes people go through the door of a property, and in this case it was the castle gate, and they have the feeling: that feels right for me,” Gammel said. “That’s the way it was with him. He touched me and said ‘I think this is for me’.”

Cage had previously lived in a fake castle near Los Angeles. He has been quoted in media reports saying he plans to spend more time away from Hollywood and wants his child to grow up in an international setting.

No details were released about the price for Schloss Neidstein but media reports have put the transaction at about $2.3 million. Cage has been renovating the castle, learning German, and plans to move in soon with his wife and infant son.

The Neidstein castle was owned for more than 500 years by a family of aristocrats. Gammel said that Cage was not put off even though massive renovation work was required.

In an interview with German magazine Bunte last year, Cage said he was inspired to buy the castle in Germany because of his mother Joy Vogelsang, a German-American dance choreographer.

“Her ancestors are all from good old Bavaria,” Cage said.

Speaking to Reuters in Berlin in early February, Cage said that he has long been a fan of German cinema.

“I grew up with expressionist German silent films,” he said. “My father and my whole family was seriously interested in German cinema.”

In the sleepy Bavarian town he will be moving to, Cage has already made a few appearances in local cafes and restaurants.

“We don’t have any McDonalds or Sushi restaurants but we have fresh sausage and all sorts of pork,” said Etzelwang Mayor Ludwig Heinl, whose letter welcoming Cage went unanswered.

Heinl admitted in a recent newspaper interview that he and 90 percent of the local townspeople didn’t know who Cage was before he bought the castle.

Cage, who has had a wildly oscillating career, grabbed the top spot of the North American box office in February with the opening of his cult comic book adaptation “Ghost Rider”.

He also had another modest hit last year “World Trade Center” but had three other unsuccessful films “Lord of War,” “The Weather Man,” and “The Wicker Man”.