How Nic Cage Becomes Ghost Rider

Director Mark Steven Johnson explains the look and powers of the Ghost Rider.
Warning: Spoilers

Ghost Rider director Mark Steven Johnson explained for Now Playing magazine how actor Nic Cage's supernatural look comes together in the film.

"This time I actually have a hero who's supposed to be in leather, so I've got that going for me," laughs Johnson, referring to the criticism he got after characters in his Daredevil got all leathered up. "[Blaze] changes throughout the movie. I know some fans have seen shots and they're like, 'Why are the spikes all so small?' It's because he changes his look throughout. Obviously he doesn't know what's going to happen the first time [he becomes Ghost Rider]. He has no gloves on, so he's got skeleton hands. He's got black jeans, a black leather coat and motorcycle boots. The second time, when he breaks out of the jail – not to give too much away – his coat gets ripped and he basically upgrades."

As for the hellfire: "The idea is that hellfire affects metal in a certain way, so when [it] hits a motorcycle, it turns into a hell-cycle. When it hits a shotgun, it turns into a hellfire shotgun. And when it hits the studs in your coat, they pop into these spikes," explains the filmmaker. "It's really cool and it worked really well with the outfit. So he does have the three-inch spikes and the big chain and all that s***," he told the magazine.

The Penance Stare is going to take more work, he admits: "We're still working on [that]," Johnson says. "I don't want to do the little vignettes [type of thing] because we've seen that before – quick little cut pieces of people's sins. [The stare] is when Ghost Rider says 'Look into my eyes' [and he] can look at all the sins they've done to other people and make them relive those sins ten-fold. Ghost Rider doesn't kill anybody, but it's supposed to be a fate worse than death because you're trapped looking at all the s*** you've done to everyone else. So how to do that without it becoming a mini-movie is the challenge."

Cage's co-star Eva Mendes talks about her character witnessing the Ghost Rider transformation: "I do have one scene where I see him changing into Ghost Rider, and that freaks my character out, as it would freak anybody out – seeing somebody change into a flaming skull," says the actress.

But for all of his fire, Ghost Rider is no Human Torch ala Fantastic Four: "He throws hellfire in one scene, which is pretty cool. If there's any fire around him he can manipulate it," explains Johnson. "What I didn't want to do is get into the Human Torch – that's what's really hard about the Marvel characters. There's so many of them. Human Torch or Pyro – you've got to be careful about what makes you different from them."

Ghost Rider premieres next summer.

Click here for the rest of the interview.
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9/1/2005
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