The filmmaking team behind “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” are hoping for a redemption story both on and off the screen.
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the writing and directing tandem behind “Crank” and “Gamer,” have inherited the fiery Columbia Pictures franchise and their first challenges may be getting fans to forgive and forget the 2007 movie “Ghost Rider.” The pair came to New York Comic-Con to show footage to fans and assure them that, this time around, the fire-and-brimstone anti-hero will be presented in a dark tale that lives up to the tone and legacy in the pages of Marvel Comics.
This will be a “darker, nastier, meaner” version of Johnny Blaze, a fellow who will not be throwing on tights and saving cats. “He will light the cat on fire though,” Neveldine said. “And that’s important.”
Taylor cited the comics work of Garth Ennis and said that he and his partner had read a tall stack of Ghost Rider comics in preparation. The team decided to make a fashion statement by going for “something more visceral” in the look of the character, who will be losing that jacket from the first movie because it was “too 80s.”
Nicolas Cage returns as the title character in the Valentine’s Day 2012 release but the footage shown (which the directors also showed over the summer at Comic-Con International in San Diego) backed up the frequent promises that the hellfire franchise has a new lease on life, at least as far as tone.
“It will be more like a horror film than an episode of ‘Cops,’ ” Neveldine said.
This is not the first time the tandem have tried to make a film with an offbeat comics anti-hero created in the early 1970s; they wrote the script for “Jonah Hex” and were on track at one point to direct the film — though they’re probably glad they didn’t since the Warner Bros. release ended up as one of the most jeered films in memory.
The lively panel underlined how much the filmmakers enjoy their reputation for risk-taking stunt work and high-adrenaline antics. Neveldine said he set a decree that if anyone broke a bone on set, it would go into the movie. He added: “We crashed a lot of cars, busted a lot of gasoline cans, and broke a lot of bones.”
— Travis Walecka reporting from New York
RECENT AND RELATED