‘Ghost Rider 2′ Director Says the Comics Never Made Sense to Him

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ghost rider 2 release date Ghost Rider 2 Director Says the Comics Never Made Sense to Him
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will be the second attempt at bringing Marvel’s renegade antihero to the big screen following a critically disappointing debut back in 2007. In an industry that’s currently woefully enamored with the term ‘reboot’, Spirit of Vengeance takes a somewhat unique approach by acknowledging its predecessor while simultaneously disassociating from it.

The modestly budgeted follow-up has a rather arduous uphill battle ahead of it, considering the first Ghost Rider‘s reputation – as well as star Nicolas Cage’s recent string of flops. Recognizing that the material needed to be approached in a different way was certainly a good place to start, but many fans are still waiting apprehensively to see if this entry will turn out to be a more accurate representation of the character.

Thanks to a collection of set photos and assertions from Cage that Spirit of Vengeance will be “a whole new experience”, we know that directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are crafting a film with a vastly different tone than the original. It’s also been made clear that while it’s still loosely connected to the first movie, the sequel will be making changes to certain aspects of the character’s mythology – including a revamped origin.

However, rather than adhering to the source material, it sounds like Neveldine & Taylor ultimately decided to deviate from it even further.  In a recent interview with Movieline, Taylor reveals why it was important for them to develop a different back-story for Johnny Blaze/ Ghost Rider:

“We basically completely re-envisioned the whole start of the character, and actually had to re-engineer the origin of the Ghost Rider. The whole mythology behind the Ghost Rider that existed in the comic books never really made sense to me, so we sort of had to re-engineer the entire back-story of the Ghost Rider into something new.”

There are few things that instigate fanboy rage faster than a filmmaker denouncing the very comic book he’s adapting – but Taylor insists that the first Ghost Rider movie provided them with ample room to reinterpret concepts that were previously glossed over:

“We’re just looking at it as an evolution. The movie takes place years later. We’re not disowning the first movie but this Ghost Rider is an evolved form of the previous Ghost Rider. And the mythology that went behind it is stuff that never got delved into in the first movie, anyway. Like, they don’t talk about who the demon is from when Johnny Blaze becomes the Ghost Rider. We get into that and really get into who that guy is, what his story is, and what makes GR the way that he is.”

brian taylor mark neveldine Ghost Rider 2 Director Says the Comics Never Made Sense to Him

Directors Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine

He also expresses his admiration for Cage and suggests that Spirit of Vengeance will allow the notoriously unhinged actor several opportunities to really chew on the scenery:

“I’ve got to tell you that working with him was the absolute highlight of that experience. He’s the best. Every day that Nic was on the call sheet and we were coming in to shoot him was a total rush. Shooting action is boring, shooting car crashes and all that stuff. But shooting a Nic Cage performance is a total adrenaline rush.”

I know many of you are probably still fixated on that first comment about the mythology not making sense to Taylor – and I agree that it’s somewhat discouraging. I’m also not going to pretend that I’ve really enjoyed any of the films this duo has had a hand in, or that I wasn’t already apprehensive about the decision to bring them on board in the first place.

However, I will say that when it comes to creating a successful comic book adaptation, I don’t think translating every last detail is as important as the broad strokes. As long as the filmmakers don’t deviate too far from the core concept of the property, there’s often plenty of room for them to put their own stamp on the mythology.

the dark knight Ghost Rider 2 Director Says the Comics Never Made Sense to Him

The Dark Knight and Iron Man are two recent examples of successful comic book films that made numerous changes to certain characters, back stories, and motivations – but by retaining the spirit of the comics, most of these alterations were still accepted as being appropriate and true to the mythology.

So while fans will always urge Hollywood to just stick with what’s on the page, I think the real key is finding a writer and director who understand why a particular property has endured as long as it has  and then set out to build their film on that foundation. The question is – are Neveldine & Taylor the right match for this character?

We’ll find out when Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance opens on February 17, 2012.

Source: Movieline.

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  1. Nic Cage is awesome, but I don’t have much hope for this film. I expect this franchise to go back to marvel studios within the next 5 years.

    • yh agreed

  2. A bit of a worrying statement. But I liked the first one, and I always enjoy Cage in his films, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

    And nice to see a mention of The Dark Knight (including a picture!) as it is surely impossible to mention a comic book movie without bringing it up.
    That’s not a dig at the writer, just an observation.

    • I mentioned TDK because it’s widely regarded as one of the most successful comic book films of all time – not just commercially, but creatively speaking as well.

      And yet, it takes as many liberties with the characters and the source material as Burton’s films do (in terms of changing back stories, appearances, etc.) – but many would agree that the changes Nolan and Co. made are more in line with the spirit of the comics.

      So that’s what I was trying to say – that deviation doesn’t always equal disaster. TDK and Iron Man are the most recent obvious examples of that.

      Not trying to add to a sense of TDK overkill – just trying to illustrate a specific point. =-)

      • Chris, I certainly wasnt having a go at you or anything like that, it just seems that you cant mention the comic book movies without the first reaction being “THE DARK KNIGHT” or “CHRIS NOLAN WOULD HAVE DONE IT BETTER”.

        I don’t want to harp on about TDK anymore though, I know how I feel about it.

        And I agree thhat deviation doesnt mean disaster, I sure hope that Ghost Rider turns out to be really cool.

        • No worries, I definitely didn’t take it personally or anything. Just wanted to clarify that it wasn’t an arbitrary comparison.

  3. Just as long as GR’s on he’s a skeleton wearing leather, on a flaming bike I’m up for it.
    And yeah, Nic Cage has to play him.

  4. I liked both Cranks and Gamer and didn’t like with tone of the first Ghost Rider. This was always a horror comic, not a Disney movie. When I hear the Directors making these kinds of statements, I can only shake my head. Unfortunately, there is a good chance this sequel will miss the mark and end up a crazy Crank-related-Cage-goes-wild-Ghost-Rider-in-name-only movie. It may be enjoyable, but not true to the source material.

  5. Yeah nothing says movie bomb bait like a director who thinks he knows how to make an extablished comic franchise better. history has shown that most of them fail and miserably I might add, Nolan being the only exception. Rami is a prime example of how changing soruce material or altering the characters so much that people finally turn on you.

    • At least Raimi had produced a 2.5 billion dollar franchise..the first GR film only managed 230 million worldwide..a far cry from the average 800 million from the Spiderman films..

      • I’d rather watch Ghost Rider than any of the Spiderman films though.

        • lol, thats a statement all in its self , DOC

          • Seriously, I went and watched SM when it came out and was severly disappointed. I disnt waste my money on GR, it had all the elements of a bad movie. I used to respect Rami as a film maker but like Lucas he has gotten to where if he isn’t allowed to do things his way he simply doesnt want to have anything to do with the project.

  6. Wow. Scary hearing the director(s) saying something like that. As for Cage, always thought they should have went with someone else (who, I am not sure). Secondly, Cage has been terrible in his last 10 movies. He is wrong for the role and wrong for making crap after crap after crap. Just saying.

  7. Nice pic up there…one guy showing he has a tongue and the other showing off his elbow..I have given up on Cage…GR:SOV I will catch on DVD/Blu-Ray…sometime in July-Sept 2012..

  8. Why do directors take on movies they really don’t want to do anyway? Or don’t feel comfortable doing? Greed? The Challenge? or Ego? Nic Cage should have just done this movie himself, if he really was such a Ghost Rider Fan anyway………

    BTW, just saw Kickass….. he was GREAT in that movie! That movie was just GREAT in general! Easily one of my favorites…….

  9. last good cage film was Bad lieutenant. He can be a good actor but it has the perfect fit for the role otherwise he just looks outa place in alota movies. Oh and Conair was awsome of course. “Give me back my bunny”

    • Shouldn’t that be “Put the Bunny back in the box” :p

  10. I really can’t wait for the announcement that this project ran out of money and will die quietly. NO aspect of it at any point has seemed like a good idea or shown any promise to be a good movie.

  11. Nic Cage can be good in certain films when he is accompanied by a good supporting cast; that makes him step up his game for some reason. As far as GR, Nic Cage is a miscast and should have not been allowed to return to this franchise. I’m hoping that this movie will flop and that it returns back to Marvel so that we will see a “Midnight Sons” movie with Blade, GhostRider, Daredevil & The Punisher.

  12. I don’t understand why a director would take on an established intellectual property that has a certain framework or mythos and basically declare that it has problems so he is going to rewrite it.

    I know Michael Bay has done that with Transformers to a certain extent.

    I guess I was hoping for more respect for the source material from this director. If the director is not going to respect the source material, why not just pass on the project and write a project more near and dear to your heart?

  13. More self-indulgent jacka**, so-called directors making yet another piece of crap hollywood half-film, for a dumba** audience who’ll watch anything. And Nic Cage, give up.

    call me negative, call me troll… but please call me a ranter. Don’t get on my bad side today. I just sent back an eggs benedict for being hardboiled and not soft…

    I understood the mythology of GR just fine. Are these guys completely stupid?

    • Well…OOOK Pitt Man…You are negative. You are a Troll. You are a Ranter.

  14. If the director of a comic book movie does not understand the comic book that inspired the comic book movie, maybe he shouldn’t be directing said comic book movie.

    • @HG EXACTLY!!! The answer is $$$$ That’s pretty much all they care about. Like you said if he didn’t understand it then it wasn’t for him to do, do something else instead. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel just to get credit for something you don’t understand anyway.

    • Spot on.

    • True Statement. ^

    • was going to post the same exact thing (only I was going to be a bit less “diplomatic” in my language :) )

  15. Acually this shouldnt be a surprise to anyone.
    Cage has been saying for MONTHS now we were going to be getting a new origin sequence .
    when the director says “mythology” he is talking about continuity.
    And to those not well veresed in it GRs contuity I could see where it would be pretty confusing.
    First Blaze. made a deal with Satan.
    Then it was Mephisto.
    at first he turned ito a nameless demon
    Then, it turns out that Blaze is bonded to a demon named Zarathos who had his memory erased for a time.
    Now, to life time comic books fans like us, I can see where that isnt too confusing .
    But i can understand people who havent read comics not understanding all of it .
    He was probably intrigued by the idea of a man struggling with a real real demon inside him and he didnt know the background of Blaze and his relationship with Zarathos .

    • @Gary S

      Nice! You know Ghost Rider. impressive.

    • They also fail to realize that the original Johnny Blaze run was always campy and the second more serious serious with Danny Ketch is where characters like Blackout came from in the first place. After the second version got ultra popular Blaze was brought back along with characters like Blade during the whole Midnight Sons storyline.

      These directors who sign on to do these comic movies who don’t like comics really make life harder for themselves by not even trying to find someone who can point them in the right direction and use the actual good material from the comics. It’s like if Peter Jackson said he liked Lord of the Rings except for the Hobbits and didn’t want to use them…..

  16. tushee TjBudz tushee.

  17. why do these directors insist on changing the movie just because they don’t understand the source material because they’re not making the movie for themselves it’s for the fans

  18. My guess is they are throwing out the deal with the devil and beginning with Zarathos bonding to Blaze.

    • That would make more sense.

  19. Ghost rider was bad, not the kind of bad where you could “kinda” reboot. No, it was total reboot bad. The only way fanboys or general movies goers will get a good ghost rider movie is if the property reverts back to marvel. Nuff said.

  20. These two are douches.

  21. First Ghost Rider was a waste; I wish I could un-watch it. N Cage is a flop waiting to happen; why do ppl keep casting this dude in movies? I have zero expectations for this movie and will not see it unless I hear good feedback. Early GR comics were great and anytime these movie adaptions start twisting the source material (Johnny Blze eating jelly beans out of a martini glass anyone?) I get nervous.

  22. I love how they don’t understand the comic but yet they can go along with something silly and ridiculous. If they wanted a decent start, like someone said let marvel do it or atleast read a ghost rider comic series. Hell I’d rather say go off of something in reference to the heavens on fire lead up then this shot in the dark jank .

  23. What is with everyone? I love comic book movies also. I thought the first movie was pretty good. Sure it could have been great, but what is with all the hate? NC did just fine, thank you. I expect the next movie to be better. The director is just saying he wants to make a specific timeline for THIS particular version of GR. He’s not saing he wants to change everything. Blaze has still made a deal with either THE DEVIL or some devil. He is still trying to do what he sees as right. He still rides a bike of fire and turnes into a burning skeleton.
    If you dont like new interpretations, then there would be no new comics either.

  24. That director looks dumb and even worse he sounds dumb. This movie is going to suck and lose money at the box office; although I assume movie studios still have a way of making money off colossal failures which is why they make Nic Cage movies in the first place.

  25. Just saw this movie and it sucked bad acting bad story if u want to see it wait for it to come to a redbox near you