Join Date: Nov 2002
Re: Ask MSJ Part 3
Well, as I promised late last night I'd like to take some time to try and answer some questions about the flick. Thanks again for writing in and asking for updates. I know that we're all still dealing with this later release schedule and I know how hard it is to wait. But the good news is that all kinds of cool stuff is now coming our way. There won't be any more dry spells where months go by with no real news to report. Should make these boards a lot more fun to check in on, right? Okay, let's get started...
1. How is the CGI coming along? Anything special would should know about?
Kevin Mack and his team at Sony Imageworks are awesome. They have been working night and day to make Ghost Rider the coolest character in the Marvel Universe. I'm not going to lie to you -- it's been harder than anyone thought. CGI fire is known as one of the most difficult things to portray on film. There is a fire simulation program that they've created just for the movie that looks amazing, so that the fire moves naturally with Ghost Rider, whether he's walking or riding on the Hellcycle or standing in the wind atop a 75 story building. The incredibly tedious part is that the fire needs to be tweaked on a shot by shot basis. We analyze the fire constantly -- is it too rich, flickering too fast, too transparent, etc.? Also, how much fire, the hue of the flame, etc. depends on the Ghost Rider's mood. Naturally, most of the time his mood is pissed off! But there are times when we see the tortured side of him as well. And now that we're dialing in the flames as they pertain to Ghost Rider, we have to do the same thing with the Hellcycle. Of course, the villains all have different visual effects as well. So it's been a wild ride in the FX world.
2. I'm wondering if the bike operates on it's own or can be controlled by GR when he's not on it.
The bike has it's own personality and can move on it's own. We have a scene where Ghost Rider breaks out of jail and we intercut with Johnny's chopper as it transforms and breaks out of the impound to join him. The Hellcycle serves its master and will do anything to get to him when needed.
3. Can you give any firm details on the composer or songs to be featured in the movie? There've been LOTS of ideas posted here on the Hype!
Christopher Young will be scoring the movie and I'm thrilled. Christopher scored much of Spider-man 2 and is scoring Spider-man 3 after he finishes G.R. He's also scored The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the Hellraiser movies, and many many others. Best of all, he's a comic and horror geek! His office has a collection of HUNDREDS of jack-o-lanterns. He's perfect for this. In regards to the songs, they have yet to be finalized but you can expect classic and heavy rock. I made some great friends in Melbourne, Australia in the band Spiderbait and they'll be doing a track for the flick as well. There's more coming up but just talking at the moment. I'll keep you posted. As you can imagine, I get PMs regularly from people pushing their friend's band! Lots of CDs come into the production office.
4. When can we expect to see a Ghost Rider trailer?
I just saw a trailer the other day and it's great. We should have our first teaser our in the next few months. There's also been talk of a First Look at Ghost Rider, either on a new Ghost Rider movie site or perhaps through MTV. Either way, its all coming soon. And 'm sure that the Spider-man 3 trailer will be attached to us when we come out, which is cool.
5. What's the most challenging thing you're facing in the post-production process?
To be honest, I just went through it. Getting our release date moved around was tough. Tough emotionally but also tough logistically. I have sound, music, editing, publicity, and VFX to think about. There are a lot of people involved working for me right now that have plans for their next movie already and it's a lot to coordinate when the release date gets pushed like this. Again, it's all for the better. But it's still a pain in the ass!
6. Are there any cliffhangers or setups in the movie for the future? Or has this been shot as a solo film on its own? Like in Batman Begins where at the end we see certain things that lead into the sequel.
Without giving too much away, it's definitely a complete film on its own. It's not left open-ended as to this story. However, it does leave the door open in a really clever way as to what could be next.
When is the official teaster poster due?
7. Just saw this as well. Very soon. I'll give you guys updates when they'll be released. I've seen the hero poster along with a really great lenticular one sheet -- one that changes between Nic and Ghost Rider.
8. When can we expect promotional photos of not just Cage but Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda, Wes Bentley, etc.?
Also very soon. There will be character one sheets in theatres as well. Also, there will be a new website coming for the movie that will release lots of new photos and information, and even a first look at Ghost Rider. This will also be announced very shortly.
9. How intense is the studio pressure when the film comes out after X3 and Superman? Do you think it will be hinderance to the film's Box Office prospects or a benefit?
Obviously, we don't have to worry about them now. I feel comfortable that we could have done well in the summer even with those movies out. However, as I said before, those movies are sequels and remakes. It's harder when you're trying to do something unique. The audience doesn't know who we are yet. But that will change soon enough. I tend to think that a healthy box office is good for everyone. I want Superman and X-Men and Pirates to all do great. It's good for everybody.
10. What is Eva Mendes' phone number?
212-479-7990 (at least, this is the number she gave me...)
11. What the hell is the budget of Ghost Rider??? First we heard 40 million, then 50 million, then some site said over 100 million (which I doubt). Can you give us a budget range???
You should have kept going and not doubted! Seriously, this stuff is usually top secret but now with the Variety article it's all out in the open. But what are you gonna do? Big star + Big stunts + Flaming head = $$$.
12) Have you already started thinking about Ghost Rider 2, and if the first one is profitable enough...has Cage expressed interest in making more than 1 film? I know Marvel almost always make studios sign their big actors for 3 pic deals...but I somehow doubt Cage signed for Ghost Rider 1-3. Did he?
We would all love to return to make another one. We had a blast and Nic loves this character. But that will be up to the fans.
13) What other properties would you love a shot at? I've asked several directors including Goyer and all of them expressed interest in several properties...but the two constants funny enough were Thor and Silver Surfer.
Love the Surfer. I've always like Thor but he was never one of my favorites. Cap would be amazing. Mostly I want GR 2!
14) Lastly since you're working with Sony on Ghost Rider have you heard anything on Luke Cage through the grapevine??? Obviously Nick is attached to that character by his name so he might have enough fan based interest to ask questions. From everything I know everyone is ready for this film but Sony and Singleton seems like his hands are tied.
I actually did a rewrite on that script before I started filming Ghost Rider. It's a blast. Singleton loved it, so did the producers. I know there was one specific actor they were really interested in but that fell apart. I have no doubt it will get made and be a really fun movie. I actually did a reverse homage in the script. When the hero is confronted by police and he has to come up with a cover name for himself he spots a Nic Cage movie playing across the street. I figure Nic took his name from the superhero, so I'll have the superhero take his name from Nic!
15) Another question; Was Jonathan Hensleigh a writer (or attached in anyway) on this flick? We read on a couple of movie places that he was. Most of us wouldn't believe it until it was posted on IMDB (which is isn't still) but are still interested to know for sure.
IMDB is a bizarre site that tends to get a lot wrong. Jonathan has never been a writer on the Ghost Rider movie.
16) Does the Caretaker play the role of like Alfred or (not really) but the Preist from DD, someone he can talk to and find confort in?
Caretaker is very close to what he was like in the comics. He's a confidant to Johnny but he's also an important character in his own right. Sam Elliot plays him and he's just fantastic. Very gruff and funny and cool.
17) How long of the first Act is young Johnny Blaze in? 15-20 minutes, almost like young Matt in DD? I have to say that I hope a little less time is spent on the young Johnny Blaze as compared to the young Matt Murdoch stuff from Daredevil. Or at least Ghost Rider has a longer running time to focus on the characters in the present.
It's shorter than that. We have so much story to tell with adult Johnny and the villains, that I only need to get out the essentials before delving into the current day. My problem is that I fall in love with my actors and don't want to cut anything. But I know there will be beautiful stories from Johnny's youth that won't make the final cut. But that's all for the betterment of the story. And nothing gets lost on DVD.
18) One more question from me; How involved is Nic Cage in the process at this point?
As much as he can be, with Nic's crazy schedule. He just saw the movie for the first time and loved it. But he always has ideas to make it better. It's great working with him because he knows this character so well. We can talk in shorthand. He's the perfect Johnny Blaze.
19) The IMDB has the composer listed as David Arnold who has also scored films such as CHANGING LANES, DIE ANOTHER DAY, and others, have you had meetings with him as of yet?
Good old IMDB. No, it's Christopher Young. I've never even met David Arnold.
20) How important do you feel fan input is on these type of films? Daredevil had quite a bit of input (both positive and negative) and did this have any effect on how you would handle Ghost Rider?
Fan input is extremely important (that's why I'm here on the boards). If you don't please the core group you'll never get the chance to branch out to a larger audience.
21) Many directors feel each new film that they do is a learning experience so that they can improve on their next project. Were there any lessons that you learned from working on Daredevil?
So many. Mostly, the pressures inherent in making a big movie. It's not like making a regular movie (if there is such a thing). There's always pressure on every movie you make. But when the money is big the pressures are big. There's a lot more on the line. It's always a big learning experience. Sometimes you screw up. But as long as you learn why and how it happened you'll be a better filmmaker for it. I know a lot more about visual effects now, about camera, and about managing my crew. I also would never get into a project like this without the complete backing of the studio. Sony has been terrific in that sense.
22) In the Daredevil commentary, you mentioned the movie having an anime vibe, with the fluorescent lighting in the court room and train station scenes. Any more of that in GR?
That was appropriate for DD. But this is a much different vibe. A gothic western. It's got its own look and feel.
23) While the movie has Johnny Blaze in the starring role, it seems to be taking elements from both the '70s and '90s eras.... which of these two does it lean more towards?
Definitely more from the original Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider. I took Blackheart and Caretaker from the 90's Danny Ketch era, and the look of Ghost Rider with the spikes and chains feels more from that era as well, but as for Johnny's storyline it's straight out of the early stuff.
24) Will Mephisto, Blackheart, etc be shown in demon form?
Yes. You'll see flashes of it in the trailer coming out. We manage to honor the spirit of their comic look while making it work for the film. Really spooky and cool. I think it's going to be amazing, especially Blackheart's final evolved state by the end of the film!
Okay, must get back to work now. Thanks again for all of your questions. And thanks again for your patience with the new date.