Ghost Rider at Comic-Con International

Today Movieweb attended a roundtable discussion for the much anticipated Nicholas Cage vehicle Ghost Rider. Talking about the film today were the director Mark Steven Johnson and Eva Mendes. In what was a brief but fun filled twenty minutes, these two artists seemed to revel in the fun creativity that is moviemaking.

In order to save his dying father, young stunt cyclist Johnny Blaze (Cage) sells his soul to Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) and sadly parts from the pure-hearted Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes), the love of his life. Years later, Johnny's path crosses again with Roxanne, now a gogetting reporter, and also with Mephistopheles, who offers to release Johnny's soul if Johnny becomes the fabled, fiery Ghost Rider, a supernatural agent of vengeance and justice. Mephistopheles charges Johnny with defeating the despicable Blackheart, Mephistopheles's nemesis and son, who plans to displace his father and create a new hell even more terrible than the old one.

“The FX were the biggest things thing to getting the film made.” Director Mark Steven Johnson stated. Originally, the story of Ghost Rider was a bit more complicated, so they pared it down and made it simpler. “There’s a heaven and a hell... when something gets out of hell that’s when the Ghost Rider is called in.”

On working with the luminary Peter Fonda, Eva Mendes said “He’s awesome!”. She had “never seen Easy Rider and when she told Fonda that he replied, ‘Why don’t we have an Easy Rider party at Mark’s place and I’ll narrate?’”

“I didn’t want a comedic devil,” Johnson stated, referring to other films where that character has been portrayed in a “campy” manner. “He’s gotta be the ultimate salesman.” He also described the film as a “straight up western” and that the movie “looks like a painting.” As for Sony, the studio who backed this film, “It’s been great... Sony really gets it.”

Lastly, they talked about how long the project had been gestating and according to Johnson, Nicolas Cage had “been attached for years.” “He has a Ghost Rider tattoo on his arm that he got years ago.” Mendes revealed. When asked if she would do another comic book movie she laughed enthusiastically and stated, “Oh yeah!”.

Ghost Rider opens in theaters August 4th, 2006.