Calling Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's directing style "unique" would be an understatement. The duo, who have previously helmed both "Crank" films, literally risk their lives when shooting a movie. For "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," out February 17, 2012, they did everything from riding behind a motorcycle on roller skates with camera in hand to swinging on bungee cords to get the shots they wanted.
While at Comic-Con International 2011 in San Diego, Neveldine and Taylor sat down with us for a brief chat about the upcoming Ghost Rider film in which Nicolas Cage will reprise the role of Johnny Blaze and, for the first time, the Spirit of Vengeance himself as well.
|Nicolas Cage will play Ghost Rider as well as Johnny Blaze in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"|
Marvel.com: You guys are known for a style that I’d describe as “tightly controlled chaos,” where it’s always constantly moving and it never slows down.
Mark Neveldine: Punk rock filmmaking.
Marvel.com: I like that! Will you guys be employing that same style with "Ghost Rider"? Is there anything you’ve changed or shifted at all?
Mark Neveldine: Yes, we have hired that style for "Ghost Rider." [all laugh] That’s the way that we work, [with that amount] of intensity and adrenaline. That’s how we always work. [Ghost Rider is] a broader project with a giant star, but we’re able to keep that same intensity. Nic [Cage] is as insane as we are, which is nice because it’s a nice blend of insane powers. A meeting of the insanity, I guess you could call it. We do a lot of that rad stuff that we did in the smaller films, but we try to take it to a bigger level. But at the same time, we’re happy to have the cranes out. Put those to work as well!
Marvel.com: So this is the first larger film that you’ve done, on this sort of scale. What was it that drew you specifically to Ghost Rider?
Brian Taylor: Well he’s such a badass character. [He's] kind of the perfect character for us if we’re going to do a super hero, because he’s not really a super hero. He’s a demon from hell who sucks out peoples' souls. He’s on a motorcycle and he’s crazy. We wanted to bring the super visceral, intense version of Ghost Rider to film that a lot of people haven’t seen yet.
|Nicolas Cage stars as Johnny Blaze in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"|
Marvel.com: I know you guys shot most of it over in Romania and Turkey. What led you to go to those sort of locations?
Brian Taylor: The script was actually set there. We don’t like to shoot a lot on stages, we like to use real locations as much as possible. It was really cool to actually be there and soak up all the ancient history. We’re shooting in Transylvania, shooting in Turkish archaeological sites from thousand of years ago. We prefer to put our characters in real environments [rather] than building sets.
Marvel.com: What was that like? I can’t remember the last big budget action movie filmed in Turkey or Romania.
Mark Neveldine: It was great, it was an adventure. It’s kind of a road movie, it starts from the north and goes to the south. That was the way that we shot it. Similar to "Crank," we kind of lived the movie. I think that can’t help but bleed onto the film, [and] you can’t get that if it was in some sterile environment.
Marvel.com: Nic Cage did the first Ghost Rider movie and has some familiarity with the character. What was it like joining up with him and taking what he took from the first movie and grafting it onto what you wanted to do?
Mark Neveldine: We gave him an opportunity in this one to play it as a dual role. We didn’t just want him to play Johnny Blaze, we wanted him to play the the demon, we wanted him to play the Ghost Rider. So he created this whole new physical language for that character. It was completely distinct from Johnny Blaze. That was a lot of fun. He’s so passionate about it and so cerebral about it. Talk about controlled chaos, that’s Nicolas. Nicolas thinks about everything that he does, and he’s got a reason for it. An intellectual reason and a poetic reason for every choice that he makes. Once he has all that foundation, that’s when you let him loose. Then it’s just a ramping the knob up. “Oh, let's do this take on 11, Nic. Let’s do this one on 15. Maybe you can modulate this down and do this on nine and half.” Once he has that, once he knows what he’s doing and why, then he really puts the fight in the demon.
Check out "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" in theaters February 17, 2012.