Nicolas Cage encouraged Johnny Depp to become an actor over a game of Monopoly.

The 'Mandy' actor urged his old friend to think about a career in movies and helped him get an agent and an audition at a time when the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star was focused on becoming a musician.

He told the New York Times magazine: ''The true story is that we were already friends. I was living in an old building in Hollywood called the Fontenoy, and I think I ultimately rented the apartment to Johnny, and he started living there.

''He was at the point in his career where he was selling pens or something to get by.

''He would take my money and buy cocktails but wouldn't tell me about it. He admitted it later.

''But anyway, we were good friends, and we would play Monopoly, and he was winning a game, and I was watching him and I said, 'Why don't you just try acting?' He wanted to be a musician at the time, and he told me, 'No, I can't act.' I said, 'I think you can act.' So I sent him to meet with my agent.

''She sent him out on his first audition, which was 'A Nightmare on Elm Street.' He got the part that day. Overnight sensations don't happen. But it happened with him.''

Earlier this year, footage of the 55-year-old star singing karaoke went viral and he claimed he was treating the evening out as ''primal-scream therapy''.

He said: ''You go to a karaoke bar with a male friend in the neighborhood, the bar says 'no videotaping' and suddenly, there's two different videos of you doing karaoke. Who did that? Who exposed the videotape? Who sold it?

''It was around the anniversary of Prince's passing. Everyone knows how much I admire him as an artist.

''But honestly, I wasn't even doing that to sing. It was more like primal-scream therapy.

''It was a holiday weekend, and I didn't want to go anywhere, but my friend who was with me said: 'You can't sit here in your apartment. You've got to go out.' So I went to the one place in my neighbourhood that I knew had no video recording, just to have some fun, and that became everybody's business.''