For the filmmakers of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, picking up where the first film left off wasn’t an option. Vaulting ahead a few years allowed them to put the character at an entirely different stage in his development and gave them the opportunity to show how differently John Blaze deals with being the Ghost Rider several years down the road.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance tells a story of redemption, and one that required a different approach to the character. Fortunately for Nicolas Cage, reprising the character of John Blaze for this film was an altogether new experience. “[It was] like starting from scratch in many ways,” he says. “It’s a whole new John Blaze — by now he’s been living for a while with the Rider. In the original film he was always trying to calm down — by avoiding alcohol, listening to Karen Carpenter … stuff that wouldn’t make his head ignite. It’s now years later; his head has ignited and he has to live with that. So it’s an entirely different Johnny hiding out in Romania.”
One of the biggest changes versus the first film, for Cage, was that he was asked to play the Ghost Rider as well as John Blaze. (Various stand-ins and stunt doubles were employed in the original film.) “[Codirector] Brian Taylor really wanted to get into the feeling of the sacrifice — always recalling the pain of the actual initial deal with the Devil,” Cage says. “So, he was a huge advocate that I should play not just John Blaze, but the Ghost Rider as well. It was important to Brian that I inhabit the spirit, Zarathos — he is the corrupted and fallen spirit of justice who became a spirit of vengeance. That opened up all sorts of new doors for me. I’d played multiple roles in movies in the past, like Adaptation, but this time, I was dealing with a character that was not human. How could I bring that to life? It was exciting to me — and let’s face it, the movie’s called Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, it’s not called John Blaze. The Ghost Rider is the star of the movie.”
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is available starting June 12 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
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