Nicolas Cage’s pet snake tried to “hypnotise” him.

The 58-year-old actor has a range of animals at home, including a pig, a Maine Coon cat named Merlin, and terrapins, and the creatures have served as inspiration for his work over the years.

He said: “Sometimes the animals can help, especially the reptiles.

“At one time I had a cobra, and it would try to hypnotise me by showing me the pattern of an eye on its back and then turning around to attack.

“I used that in ‘Ghost Rider’, where my character would do that weird Axl Rose dancing and then attack.”

When it came to making ‘Pig’, a “horrible nightmare” Nicolas had had about his feline friend proved invaluable to informing his performance.

He said: “Merlin was a big inspiration for ‘Pig’. When I first met [writer-director] Michael Sarnoski, we talked about what [my character] Rob is going through.

“Of course, it’s the loss of the pig but also some deeper grief from the past.

“I had this horrible nightmare about Merlin, and that was a gift, in a weird way, because I felt the loss as if something terrible had really happened to him.”

The ‘Wild At Heart’ actor once wrote a movie script – but abandoned his writing ambitions almost immediately after running over the manuscript with his car.

He told Empire magazine: “I wrote a script once.

“I had the manuscript on a laptop and I put it behind my car in my briefcase and forgot about it and ran over it.

“I thought, ‘OK, I am done with writing.’

“I’m just going to be an actor and take risks with it, and try to push boundaries. This is it for me.”