Nicolas Cage Interview For ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’
Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze in Columbia Pictures’ and Hyde Park Entertainment’s ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.’ In the successor to the worldwide hit ‘Ghost Rider,’ Johnny Blaze – still struggling with his curse as the devil’s bounty hunter – is hiding out in a remote part of Eastern Europe when he is recruited by the leader of a group of rebel monks (Idris Elba) to save a young boy (Fergus Riordan) from the devil (Ciaran Hinds). At first, Johnny is reluctant to embrace the power of the Ghost Rider, but it is the only way to protect the boy – and possibly rid himself of his curse forever. Based on the Marvel Comic., ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The film also stars Violante Placido, Christopher Lambert, Anthony Head, and Johnny Whitworth. Look out for ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ in cinemas Febuary 17th.
Johnny Blaze has a different sort of persona in his film compared to the first one….
Nicolas Cage: Yeah. With Johnny Blaze, it’s a much more edgier, almost cynical interpretation of the character in this film. ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is completely different in that the whole energy of making it was a different experience. It’s a much more wild, daredevil experience. Even the way Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor shoot, they’re like a stunt team. In this film I also got to be the Ghost Rider. In the first Ghost Rider movie I was only Johnny Blaze. This gave me an opportunity to really explore my imagination and find an infinite number of possibilities about movement and how I could present this spirit from another dimension and have him kind of be like a bad dream.
How did that idea come about, you portraying the Ghost Rider in motion capture, instead of him being CGI?
Nicolas Cage: Brian Taylor was a huge advocate of that, me playing Ghost Rider as well as Johnny Blaze. I think it really adds to the whole movie, it was interesting for me as well. In the original movie, somehow that didn’t happen, for whatever the reasons – I‘m happy with the first movie, but this ones a completely different experience. On ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ it was important to Brian that I inhabit Mephisto, who in the Marvel universe is the spirit that fell and was corrupted, instead of becoming a spirit of justice he became a spirit of vengeance.
This Ghost Rider is a lot freakier in terms of the portrayal of the Ghost Rider. He feels a lot more like an entity that is alive, probably because some thought went into it and really tried to build a character here for you as Ghost Rider. Lets face it, the movies called ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,’ it’s not called Johnny Blaze, he’s the star of the movie, so you’re going to have all that now. It was important that his whole supernaturalness came through.
I’ve heard a lot about Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s unique way of filmmaking, how was that for you working with them?
Nicolas Cage: It was extraordinary in the truest sense of the word. They’re not like anybody else. Neveldine is literally risking his life to entertain you in getting shots. He’s got a camera in one hand and a motorcycle in the other, he’s on rollerblades, he’s going 70 mph, any moment he can break his neck. Yet he has this vivacious attitude about getting the shot, and so does Brian Taylor. They’re both fearless, and I knew as an actor that if I was going to be working with that kind of energy, then I couldn’t afford to show any fear myself or I would lose all credibility with them. It was a very macho, brave, stuntman style experience working with these guys on this movie.
I think people will be blown away by the photography, they’re gonna be blown away by the daredevil camera work that Mark, Brian and Brandon Trost (cinematographer) all got up to. I think people will be scared and they’re also gonna find a lot of humour in it.
The look of Johnny Blaze and the Ghost Rider is a lot more gritty?
Nicolas Cage: Yeah. The look on ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is a lot more rugged and sort of motorcycle racer. The jacket is a more fitted jacket, you don’t have spikes coming out of it. I would say it’s less heavy metal, it’s more organic. When Johnny Blaze, who wears a more traditional tight fitted leather racing jacket with leather pants, morphs into the Ghost Rider….and it was something I talked about with Brian Taylor, but the look starts to become like black oil, black oil that is hot and oozing and bubbling. It’s much more of an organic, alive look as opposed to a heavy metal look.
Your joined in this film by Idris Elba as Moreau, who brings you on this journey to find Danny?
Nicolas Cage: Idris Elba is a very grand, masculine presence, a larger than life presence. There aren’t that many actors who can embody that level of size on camera, I always find that exciting, it was definitely exciting working with Idris. In this film, Idris, who plays an alcoholic monk, recruits Johnny Blaze because he knows full and well that he’s the Ghost Rider, he needs his abilities to get Danny, who’s the devil’s son, and to bring that boy to a monastery in Turkey to get him exorcised because there’s going to be a world power shift. Along the way, even though I’m reticent as Johnny Blaze to meet Danny, because of who his father is and what his father did to me, I start to develop a love for the child, almost like a father and son. Even though they’re both hell spawn, they understand each other, there’s a wonderful kind of communication that happens between these two, and there is heart in it.
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