Our good friend John Campea over at AMC was at the red carpet premiere of the new movie Bradley Cooper / Robert De Niro flick Limitless awhile back (read our official review of the film HERE), and had a chance to interview some of the film’s stars, including actor Johnny Whitworth (3:10 to Yuma).

During the course of conversation, Whitworth revealed a pretty juicy bit of comic book movie news: he’ll be playing Ghost Rider villain Blackout in the upcoming superhero sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Check out what Whitworth had to say about his role in the Ghost Rider sequel:

“I play the villain who, at the beginning, up until like page 70, is human…I’m not a very nice guy. I’m bad. I get turned into, for those who read ‘Ghost Rider’, the character Blackout. I get turned into him by the devil to complete my job. That gives me the fortitude to fight Ghost Rider and the supernatural abilities to compete on some level with that guy.”

For those who don’t know, Blackout is a longtime nemesis of Ghost Rider – a superhuman criminal with demonic ties who has the ability to generate a “light-dampening field” that snuffs out any artificial or natural light in his vicinity. The character also has superhuman strength and the ability to see in total darkness. In the comics, he is an albino with freaky eyes and has personally cost the Dan Ketch version of Ghost Rider much personal anguish by murdering his family and friends.

Ghost Rider 2 directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor recently revealed that their film will not be sticking to the comic book mythos, which Taylor admitted he found somewhat silly. That comment alone is enough to rile comic book fans nervous about Spirit of Vengeance‘s development; combine it with Whitworth’s claim – which suggests that Blackout will essentially be a third act novelty more than a well-developed villain – and fans of the Skull-headed cyclist will likely be even more agitated by the liberties being taken with this film.

The first Ghost Rider movie did a poor job with another famous villain from the comic books. I’m fairly confident that few people were impressed with how that film (and actor Wes Bentley) handled Blackheart, a fearsome demonic foe who was presented in the film as something more in the vein of The Twilight Saga. I want to believe that Neveldine and Taylor will avoid any Twilight-esque tropes in their film, but the fact remains: Blackout is a villain with enough meat and depth to occupy a whole movie – having him wedged into a third act climax frankly seems rather wasteful and unimaginative.

So what will Johnny Blaze (Nic Cage) be up against for the rest of Spirit of Vengeance‘s runtime? Well, we know that the character could face some issues with his powers, and that he will essentially be playing bodyguard. Check out the movie’s official synopsis below:

Set several years after the first film, Johnny Blaze (Cage) is in self-imposed exile from the world.  Blaze has become a tormented soul, convinced that his powers are a curse. He is then approached by Moreau, a member of the monastic order of Michael, the warrior angel.  Moreau seeks a protector for a mother and son duo (Nadva and Dannv, respectively) who are being pursued by a figure named Roarke – a fellow with a detailed knowledge of the Ghost Rider and his “… different identities over the centuries.”

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has been shooting over in Eastern Europe for some time now (see a gallery of set photos HERE). The film is expected to hit theaters (in 3D) on February 17, 2012.

Source: For the full interview with Whitworth, head over to AMC.