“In this day and age we have a lot of comic book movies being made every day,” notes Nicolas Cage. “And most of them are really good boys. It’s important to have a couple bad boys out there, too.”
To that end, Cage has reprised the role of one of his most favorite comic book anti-heroes, Marvel Comic’s motorcycle riding, flaming-skulled Ghost Rider for the sequel “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” a darker and more action-packed take helmed by “Crank” and “Gamer” co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Cage tells PopcornBiz what revved his engines about his second foray as the demonic do-gooder.
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On the difference between the first and second films:
“When I did the first ‘Ghost Rider’, I wanted it to be like a Grimm’s fairytale. Scary but still something that children could enjoy, kind of like that first trip to the principal's office where you’ve made a mistake and you’re in trouble. But don’t give up. You can still rise above it and do something good with the experience. Well, this one, if we’re really going into the wonderful bliss of the nightmare imagination, I think it will be very entertaining… There’s a lot of humor to be found in sarcasm and darkness. I mean, you talk to any paramedic, they survive by developing a pretty off-kilter sense of humor. And I think Johnny Blaze has that because he’s really dealing with the fact that his head goes on fire, for years now. And in the first movie he kept it at bay. It was more like an innocent goofball, whereas in this movie there’s been a little fiery tap dance on his head for several years. And I think it should change his personality quite a bit.”
On “Ghost Rider’s” literally off-kilter take on superheroics:
“’Weirdness’ is a really good word, and the old fashioned spelling: W-Y-R-D. When I was trying to think how the Ghost Rider would move, because the directors really wanted me to play Ghost Rider in this, I was thinking about trying to find something really weird, which would be like levitating in circles – we called it “the compass” together – to sort of mess with how he would attack his enemies. And then I looked up in the dictionary that the word weird literally means to turn, to change, to turn around, and so I thought that was an interesting thing. But it was like trying to design a body language from another dimension. We worked in a room together and looked at different animals like cobras and insects and tried to find ways of moving that would hopefully scare you and entertain you…All the wire work was very stimulating, but also very nauseating: literally nauseating, because I was going around in circles upside down and I really was trying not to throw up, because it kept spinning and spinning. But it’s one of my favorite things that we all came up with together. So I’m glad it’s there. It was well worth it.”
On seeing his longtime dream of a world filled with comic book movies come to pass:
“I actually had a vision of it when I was nine, that this we going to happen. And it took awhile because we didn’t have the technology to make them come to life so magnificently as we do today. It was always so goofy – those stupid costumes of ‘Spider-Man’ in the old movies in ‘60s and ‘70s ,and ‘Captain America’. But now it’s become all the rage because there’s something in it for everybody. It’s kind of like perfect entertainment.”
On why Ghost Rider, in his opinion, could defeat any other superhero out there:
“Because he has the Penance Stare, and everybody’s done something wrong. And he’ll just make you look at it over and over and over again. Kind of like the Internet.”