When this movie was released he was already considered a great actor but he knew that this was the one that could shoot him up into the stratosphere of Arnold, Bruce and Mel so even though it was an action movie, Nicolas Cage took great care in preparing for this particular role. On the The Rock Criterion Collection DVD audio commentary, Nicolas Cage reveals his acting process and discusses how he went about creating the character of Stanley Goodspeed. Here are the few of the things you'll learn:
... Nicolas Cage contributed a lot of his own dialog, including the bits about The Beatles White Album, the monks accidentally making champagne and the scene where he was locked up in the Alcatraz prison cell.
... Nicolas Cage is greatly inspired by the work of other actors. He patterned his delivery in the bomb disassembly scene in the Alcatraz morgue after Richard Dreyfuss' work in Jaws.