After the success of Crank, Mark Neveldine is back with the sequel to Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage.
Director Mark Neveldine tells us how the Ghost Rider sequel came about, the challenge the project proved to be and what it was like working with Nic Cage and Idris Elba.
LOVEFiLM: How did you get involved with Ghost Rider and what was the attraction for you?
Mark Neveldine: The studio told us they were thinking of doing a reboot, starring Nic Cage, called Ghost Rider, and we were asked if we would do it. Brian is actually a very big comic book guy and he knows all about Ghost Rider. He pitched the whole movie in 30 seconds, dude on a motorbike with his skull on fire – Nic Cage in that? I hadn’t seen the first movie and still haven’t seen it, only because Brian who loved the movie said don’t watch it until after we’ve finished our movie. So I am going to watch it before or after the premiere.
LF: This is a bit of a step up from previous movies you’ve done, how did it feel being on set on the first day?
MN: The first day was awesome because we were up in the mountains of Transylvania in Romania filming an action scene. As the movie progressed and we got into the Ghost Rider character and into the CG elements and all sorts of storyboards to make this whole thing work. That was something that was a big step up for us. It was a huge learning process but we had a really incredible team who said ‘okay this is what you guys need to do’. That’s just how we did it, shoot from the hip, grab the cameras and start rolling.
LF: How was it like working with Nicolas Cage?
MN: The best experience of my life. The guy is super cool, super weird, super awesome. He was great guy to hang out with and drink with. But when he was on set he was completely serious and he loves direction. He didn’t fight with us he just wanted to collaborate and make everything great. It was fun because he is a method actor and he wanted to figure out a way for the Ghost Rider to move in this movie, he wanted something very underworld. It was really cool working with him in this method, he was open to any ideas. Brian and I are really nuts and he’s like the king of nuts.
LF: Was he keen to bring Ghost Rider back?
MN: He so badly wanted to do that. He loves the character, he loved the first movie, but he wanted to do something different for 18-35 year olds. His father, before he passed away, wanted him to do another Ghost Rider movie. It’s kind of like Ghost Rider’s in his blood. He is a huge comic book fan and he’d do 20 of these movies.
LF: Did Nic do his own stunts, was he willing to take a risk?
MN: He was, he saw us out there and we were doing these wild crazy things filming and he wanted to be a part of it. We ended up putting him on a wire and pulling him 45 feet up in the air with a 30mph pull. Nic jumped on the Yamaha VMAX which is a 1700cc engine which can go 200mph, and then just rode off on this Turkish highway going about 140mph. I shit you not. The guy is a specimen, Nic is no joke, he can ride motorcycles and he can shoot a gun. He is really not afraid of anything. The producers are afraid of him because they don’t want him to get hurt.
LF: What about Idris Elba, what was he like to work with and how did he come on board?
MN: I saw Idris in a bunch of things, obviously The Wire and the Guy Ritchie film. You walk in the room with Idris and you see this physical specimen, a guy who has gravity. He is this perfect looking human being. Idris can be so serious in a lot of his movies but when you hang out with him he is all jokes, and having fun, drinking beer, doing shots. When we started discussing his character, he came with his whole kind of personality and charisma and we loved it. He had a lot of fun with this role. I think it is going to be like the re-introduction of Idris Elba when you see this movie.
LF: Is there a particular scene from the film that really stands out for you?
MN: Whenever the Ghost Rider rides and turns into this hellish machine. I also love it when the Ghost Rider decides to get onto this giant strip miner, which is like a giant saw that cuts into mountains and digs up minerals. That was a fun little piece, I enjoyed it. It was a 700ft machine, which was incredibly dangerous, enhanced with CG.
LF: It sounds like you had a lot of fun doing this movie?
MN: Yeah, I did.
LF: What do you think for people who have watched the first movie, what can expect from the second one? And for people who haven’t seen the first what can they expect?
MN: You are going to find a fun, adrenaline filled action adventure movie. If you’ve seen the first one, this one is darker and harder hitting.