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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Neveldine & Taylor: Directing the Ghost Rider

'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' talk working with Nicolas Cage & shooting in Eastern Europe!

Johnny Blaze roars into theaters once more in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" on February 17, and to mark the event, Marvel.com will bring you new stories on ol' Flamehead every day from now until the film's premiere! From looks at the film to looks at the character's rich history, check out Marvel.com every day for everything relating to your favorite Flamehead, and don't miss "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," in theaters February 17!

By Lorraine Cink & Marc Strom

Directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have worked together since their debut film, “Crank,” in 2006, developing an unmistakable style all their own. Now, the two bring their vision to Marvel’s favorite Flamehead with “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” hitting theaters this Friday, February 17!

Sending Ghost Rider into the heart of Eastern Europe on a supernatural mission only he can accomplish, the film sees Nicolas Cage return to the role of Johnny Blaze for an action-packed 3D adventure.

In anticipation of Friday’s premier, Neveldine and Taylor sat down with Marvel.com to talk about making the film on location in Europe, working with stars Nicolas Cage and Idris Elba, and more!

Director Brian Taylor, Nicolas Cage and Idris Elba on set of "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Marvel.com: How did comic books play a role in your life and what went through your mind when you guys gained this experience?

Mark Neveldine: Well I used [to have a] bed [where] one of the posts broke, so I actually used comic books to hold up my bed. So comic books allowed me to sleep well at night. True story.

Brian Taylor: I was a big comic book guy. I was a Marvel guy completely. [For me] it was Fantastic Four, it was Spider-Man, it was Hulk. I had cherished issues of these comics that I would roll up and stick in my backpack and bring to school and read until they fell apart. It was definitely our destiny to do a Marvel Comics movie.

Mark Neveldine: I didn’t real a lot of comics but I read the Hulk and I played Atari and then it kind of ended after that, I don’t know what happened.

Marvel.com: A lot of inner rage issues?

A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Mark Neveldine: Yeah, I think that’s what happened.

Brian Taylor: He would always sit on the floor as a child and say, “Mark will smash, Mark will smash!”

Marvel.com: So this is a sequel to “Ghost Rider,” how did you guys go about directing this? Was the approach different or similar to your past movies?

Brian Taylor: The approach was not different at all. Because it was a big studio movie and a Marvel Comics movie, a lot of people felt that we would have to adapt and become a different kind of filmmaker, but we don’t know how to become a different kind of filmmaker. In a lot of ways, it was just as much of a guerilla, punk rock shoot as “Crank 2,” you know? We were in Eastern Europe and Turkey with not a lot of money out there, freezing in the middle of the night, doing crazy stunts, blowing stuff up.

Mark Neveldine: Wishing that we spoke more languages.

Director Mark Neveldine on set of "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Marvel.com: Speaking of that language barrier, were there any other obstacles to doing that sort of guerilla shooting outside of the U.S.?

Mark Neveldine: Well, we only went with one of our original crew members out of the hundred, hundred and fifty that we normally have, so that was tough. [There was] a little bit of a learning curve, especially because I think they’re used to more traditional filmmakers over there who set up dolly tracks and sit on a dolly and here we are, hanging out of helicopters and on roller blades and creating danger for everybody. So that was tough.

Marvel.com: Well, on the flip side of that, what were some of the upsides or highlights of your shoot?

Mark Neveldine: The Romanian, northern Transylvanian view, it’s probably one of the coolest locations to shoot up there, up in the mountains. It’s the Carpathian Mountains, it’s beautiful and we just ate up all of that landscape. And when you get to Turkey, the food is phenomenal. And also, there’s a place there called Cappadocia, and we’ve been to a lot of places [but[ I have never seen a place like Cappadocia in my life.

Director Brian Taylor and Violante Placido on set of "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Brian Taylor: Cappadocia, it’s like the desert planet from “Star Wars” in real life. And then of course, the big upside of the movie was getting to come to work with Nicolas Cage everyday. Just from a fan perspective, it was hard to step back from being a fan and actually have to direct this guy because we were just so stoked everyday. It was like, “Oh my god, Nicolas Cage is on set.”

Mark Neveldine: Even two months into shooting we were like, “Dude, that’s Nicolas Cage on set!” It was just crazy.

Marvel.com: How was it working with him? What was it like?

Brian Taylor: It was great.

Mark Neveldine: Best experience ever.

Brian Taylor: For people who love Nic Cage and always wish they could meet Nic Cage, he is exactly the guy you would hope that he was in every way. He’s that passionate, he’s that crazy, he’s that intelligent, he’s that creative and he’s incredibly professional, incredibly respectful and just hardworking. And, man, he loved it. He loved doing this movie.

A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Marvel.com: How did you enjoy working with the other actors, like Idris Elba?

Mark Neveldine: Idris is phenomenal, Ciarán [Hinds] is phenomenal. Johnny [Whitworth’s] amazing, he’s a nutcase. Idris is just really a special person because he’s played this really cool, gritty, laid back kind of guy and we really pulled this performance out of him. He came at us with this French drunk monk take that kind of surprised us. It was awesome. And we never changed his accent or his performance from the first time he auditioned for us. We’ll see a different side of Idris in this movie that we loved. [He’s] just charismatic and heartwarming. You trust him [instantly], and you need that because it’s a quick movie. It’s gone in 90 minutes, so you want to believe that Johnny Blaze will buy into the fact that, “I’m really going to turn my life around listening to you? I never met you before in my life.” But Idris has that in his eyes. And it’s pretty awesome.

Marvel.com: Also, there was a young actor on the set, Fergus Riordan. How was it working with a kid on the set with lots of explosions?

A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Mark Neveldine: You know, the true story of Fergus is that after he auditioned for us, he was good. He did a fantastic read, and as he gets up to leave, he shakes our hands and he’s like, “So check it out, if you guys don’t cast me, I’m never going to watch any of your films again.” That’s what he said. It was amazing. He had that much confidence. And we were like okay! We’re so insecure, we only have three fans, if we lose one of our three fans then…so we couldn’t, so we cast him.

Marvel.com: So, sidenote, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but did I notice a special cameo?

Brian Taylor: You did. It’s not a spoiler. We like to sneak into the movies.

Mark Neveldine: Normally we’re in the movies because we can’t afford the CG to paint ourselves out, because it’ll either be Brian or me with a camera and the other person shot. This is true, if you look at “Crank 2” and go behind the scenes, there are probably 25, 30 times that we’re actually in the movie but it’s so quick that you might not notice it. This movie we deiced to be a little bit more deliberate about it, and put ourselves in the animated sequence maybe.

Marvel.com: One last big question for you guys, you started back with “Crank” in 2006, what makes you guys work as a duo? How do guys tick?

Brian Taylor: Fear is the fuel.

Mark Neveldine: You run out of ideas, and it happens to me a lot, I run out of things to say but Brian will cover me and vice versa, and that actually is the truth on set. You’re doing these 16 hour days, you’re exhausted and you’re trying to keep it together, and it’s better to have a team member to see your vision through. So it’s fun. We do it like a football huddle with our actors. You know, we bring Nic in, we start talking about a scene and then we just turn the cameras on and we hope for the best.

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