If you are ever over at Freeze Dried Movies you might know that I am a huge Nic Cage fan. The man can do no wrong and I enjoy his films a lot. Another little fun fact is my love of Ghost Rider. I live for the Johnny Blaze character and I think it is one of the most underrated comics ever created. Well the people over at Empire Online had a chance to sit down and talk with Nic Cage himself and chatted about Ghost Rider. Nic Cage seems to have a lot of knowledge about the character and that will be a huge pay-off as it is always great to have an actor who actually knows the role he is supposed to play.
Empire Online reports,
Now this might not be the kind of image with which to kickstart your Fridays, but you’ve got to admire Nicolas Cage’s balls. Several times over the last few years, the avid comics book fan has come this close to starring in his very own superhero movie, only to see one by one, the opportunity pass him by.
First of all, he was going to play the Man of Steel in Tim Burton’s Superman Reborn, before it went tits-up. Then he was lined up to play The Green Goblin in Spider-Man, but scheduling conflicts scuppered that.
But he’s never given up (which is where our torturous balls metaphor comes in) and next January will see Cage finally get his wish when filming starts in Melbourne on Ghost Rider, the latest big-budget flick from Daredevil director (and ace foosball player), Mark Steven Johnson.
Empire had the opportunity recently to sit down with Cage, who talked in depth about the project, in which Cage will play Johnny Blaze, a circus motorcycle stuntman who, after a series of tragic events, is tricked by Satan into becoming the Spirit of Vengeance aka the Ghost Rider; a flame-skulled, motorcycle-riding demon. But with Johnny’s pure heart initially over-riding the Satanic imprint, the Ghost Rider becomes a vigilante, charged with cleansing impure souls via various arcane weapons, including the blistering penance stare.
“What I love about this idea for a comic book is that, if you think about it, it’s really complex. Obviously the movie should be fun and it has to have humour but if you think about a superhero who’s using the powers of hell for good… I mean, that is a very profound, complicated concept for a superhero,” said Cage.
And if that has you thinking Hellboy, then Cage is happy to set you straight. “Hellboy is a later character,” he said. “Ghost Rider’s been cursed by the devil but he’s not going to let the devil win. He sold his soul out of love, he was trying to save his father’s life, and then he got tricked by the trickster. But because he did it out of love the devil can’t get him. He can outfox the devil and use his powers for love and good, which is interesting.”
Although the Ghost Rider – with its fiery skull, burning eyes, and motorcycle with flaming wheels – is one of Marvel’s most easily recognisable characters, there are of course problems to reconcile when an A-lister is cast in the role: namely, how to include Cage’s fizzog on the screen without compromising the iconic image.
“Well I won’t be THAT face,” said Cage, who revealed that the Rider’s face will be largely CG. “But it’s important to the filmmaker that there’s still moments in the CGI of the face where you can still see my own expressions, so I can work that out with them. It’s hard to have a skull make facial expressions.”
Early reports suggest that the movie will see Ghost Rider take on Blackheart, the son of the Devil, and Cage is looking forward to the challenge of his first comic book movie.
“Ghost Rider is one of the original American Marvel comic icons,” he told Empire. “He was sort of the icon for motorcyclists that the silver surfer was for surfers. Imagine Evel Knievel with a flaming skull for a head. It should be fun.”
Sounds like the understatement of the year. For more from Cage on Ghost Rider and other projects, pick up a future issue of Empire.