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Peter T Chattaway

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

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Link to our thread on the original Ghost Rider (2007). In that thread, it is mentioned that the studio needs to start shooting the sequel by November of this year, otherwise the rights will revert to Marvel (which is to say, the rights will revert to Disney, the studio that acquired Marvel last year).

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Nicolas Cage and 'Crank' duo taking on 'Ghost Rider' sequel (exclusive)

Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are in early negotiations to direct Columbia’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” the sequel to the studio’s 2007 supernatural action movie starring the Marvel Comics character.

Nicolas Cage is in early negotiations to reprise his role as Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who, in order to save the life of a loved one, makes a deal with the devil. His soul is twinned with that of a demon, and he becomes a flaming-skulled man driving a motorcycle from hell.

Plot details are under wraps, and it is not known if any other character from the previous movie will return.

While the dealmaking is in the preliminary stages, the studio hopes to get principal photography going by late fall. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, June 15

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A friend of mine recently told me he'd just seen Ghost Rider and really liked it. I told him, "Well, you'll be happy to know a sequel's in the works." He looked at me with an expression of sheer bewilderment. I described to him what I knew about the project. It took almost five minutes before he said, "No, no, no... I saw The Ghost Writer."

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The first time I heard about a Ghost Rider movie, I thought it was going to be based on the mid-90s PBS show Ghostwriter, which was about a group of middle-schoolers who solve mysteries with the help of a ghost who can only leave written messages.

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The subtitle "Spirit of Vengeance" reminds me of one of my main complaints with the original:

In the comic books, the Ghost Rider has long been understood as a figure of vengeance, a hellion whose wrath is directed at punishing the guilty. The classic incarnation had a mystic “hellfire” power that could scald the soul without harming the flesh, while a later version added a “penance stare” power that works like the contraposto perditions of Dante’s Inferno, inflicting back on the wicked the weight and suffering of their own sins.

The movie includes this, but essentially as a sidebar. ... the idea of punishing the guilty just doesn’t figure much into a story that doesn’t have any human villains for the Ghost Rider to punish. Instead, the plot is driven by a war in hell between Mephistopheles and his brat kid Blackheart ...

In this war of powers and principalities, the Ghost Rider’s role as a punisher of human wickedness is subordinated to a new job description invented for the film: the devil’s “bounty hunter,” or rather goon squad.

The absence of human guilty to punish, of human villains for GR to terrorize, made him a fundamentally unfrightening and undramatic figure. Wonder if the subtitle suggests that they'll fix this in the sequel? Or will it just underscore the problem?

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Yeah, the first film showed the penance stare with a thug...but it was clear by the end they only did that to forshadow the later use. I would say the film ended suggesting he was rejectig his role as bounty hunter, which opens up the possibility to your point of just what the subtitle might mean.

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Yeah, the first film showed the penance stare with a thug...but it was clear by the end they only did that to forshadow the later use.

The first use was incidental to the plot, involving non-characters, and as you say foreshadowing. The second use was the comic-book equivalent of technobabble. It didn't connect to the actions of the characters -- there was no guilty character whom the Ghost Rider punished. The whole concept of guilt was fairly moot. This is the wrong way to use Ghost Rider. He needs human adversaries. Someone to be scared of him.

I would say the film ended suggesting he was rejectig his role as bounty hunter, which opens up the possibility to your point of just what the subtitle might mean.

I have no memory any more of how the film ended. But I remember how Ghost Rider #68 ended (the first GR I ever read, helpfully recapping the character's origins). There was a guilty human character in it. It was a much better ending.

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Oh, I definitely agree with your assessment. I suspect they made him "the devils bounty hunter" under a misguided notion that the enemy needed to be super natural. But a human villain hardly removed supernatural connections.

But your assessment of the film is more than accurate in what brings the movie down. It was a movie that had stuff (a pretty solid cast for one thing and a fun-if a bit cartoony-concept at it's core) to make it work and it's creative team mucked it up by, oddly enough, toning it down.

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'Ghost Rider 2' goes to Hell to find its villain (exclusive)

Ciaran Hinds is in negotiations to rev up Columbia’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” . . .

The story sees Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider (Cage), hiding out in remote Eastern Europe and struggling to repress his curse. Blaze is recruited by a sect to take on the devil (Hinds), who wants to take over his mortal son’s body on the boy’s birthday. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, September 30

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I have always found Ghost Rider to be visually interesting, but in all other ways completely uninteresting. The original Ghost Rider movie was a waste of time. I can't believe this one will be any better.

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I have always found Ghost Rider to be visually interesting, but in all other ways completely uninteresting. The original Ghost Rider movie was a waste of time. I can't believe this one will be any better.

Agreed.

Also, I think the film's greatest weaknesses are the same as the weaknesses of the original character, or story -- that hell is well represented and they're even willing to drag characters out of hell to make an appearance, however heaven isn't even an afterthought. This is probably a weakness in many films that deal with hell and probably all too obvious for A&F discussion, but still bears mentioning.

Edited by Persona

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Personally, the most interesting Ghost Rider stories I ever read were the ones involving a non-Ghost Rider but still infernally-superpowered Johnny Blaze interacting with the new Ghost Rider host.

And the choice of villains was far from the only thing that made the first film awful. Just re-watch the sequence where Nic Cage first encounters Eva Mendes. Also, Eva Mendes is only as good an actress as her directing, and Mark Steven Johnson apparently is no Werner Herzog.

Cirian Hinds is great, but he'll be wasted if the film is an ineptly directed as the original.

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Leaner Budget for 'Ghost Rider 2' Gets Greenlight from Sony and Hyde Park

With a production deadline looming, Sony has partnered with Hyde Park Entertainment as a cofinancier on the 3D “Ghost Rider 2,” with Nicolas Cage in the lead - at a much leaner budget.

The first film in 2007 set up Cage as stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who gives up his soul to be come a vigilante. That film had an estimated budget of $110 million, and grossed $115 million domestically, and a total of $229 million worldwide. . . .

The budget has been cut from $135 million to a leaner $75 million, according to a knowledgeable insider.

(Even Nic Cage had to take a serious haircut to reprise Johnny Blaze, down from his $12 million fee to what one knowledgeable insider said was $7 million. CAA was presumably not very happy.) . . .

TheWrap.com, October 25

The Morning Read: Nicolas Cage set to play two roles in 'Ghost Rider 2'

If Nicolas Cage really is playing both Johnny Blaze and the demon Zarathos in the upcoming Neveldine/Taylor "Ghost Rider 2," it is going to be a completely lunatic experience. The directors have been posting cryptic hints in their Twitter feed today, promising a "nic cage classic" from the dual performances. I'd be willing to believe them. . . .

Drew McWeeny, Hitfix, October 27

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Leaner Budget for 'Ghost Rider 2' Gets Greenlight from Sony and Hyde Park

With a production deadline looming, Sony has partnered with Hyde Park Entertainment as a cofinancier on the 3D “Ghost Rider 2,” with Nicolas Cage in the lead - at a much leaner budget.

The first film in 2007 set up Cage as stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who gives up his soul to be come a vigilante. That film had an estimated budget of $110 million, and grossed $115 million domestically, and a total of $229 million worldwide. . . .

The budget has been cut from $135 million to a leaner $75 million, according to a knowledgeable insider.

(Even Nic Cage had to take a serious haircut to reprise Johnny Blaze, down from his $12 million fee to what one knowledgeable insider said was $7 million. CAA was presumably not very happy.) . . .

TheWrap.com, October 25

The Morning Read: Nicolas Cage set to play two roles in 'Ghost Rider 2'

If Nicolas Cage really is playing both Johnny Blaze and the demon Zarathos in the upcoming Neveldine/Taylor "Ghost Rider 2," it is going to be a completely lunatic experience. The directors have been posting cryptic hints in their Twitter feed today, promising a "nic cage classic" from the dual performances. I'd be willing to believe them. . . .

Drew McWeeny, Hitfix, October 27

Seriously, how does one play more than one character in the same movie without great confusion? Maybe the same way people shoot more than one movie at the same time. Must be quite the challenge...

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Gun wrote:

: Seriously, how does one play more than one character in the same movie without great confusion?

Hey, if Nic Cage can manage it in Face/Off (where he not only played two people, but had to share both of those characters with another actor), he can manage it ANYwhere. :)

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Gun wrote:

: Seriously, how does one play more than one character in the same movie without great confusion?

Hey, if Nic Cage can manage it in Face/Off (where he not only played two people, but had to share both of those characters with another actor), he can manage it ANYwhere. :)

He also played identical twins in Adaptation.

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Gun wrote:

: Seriously, how does one play more than one character in the same movie without great confusion?

Hey, if Nic Cage can manage it in Face/Off (where he not only played two people, but had to share both of those characters with another actor), he can manage it ANYwhere. :)

He also played identical twins in Adaptation.

I suppose he's the one to pull it off then :)

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Cage: Ghost Rider 2 will be wild

The star also promised the sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, would be quite different from the first film.

He said: "(It's going to be) very different. A completely new experience and that's how the directors choose to see it. I mean there's even a new origin sequence."

UKPA, January 6

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Is Cage starring in his own reboot, then?

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Cage: Ghost Rider 2 will be wild

The star also promised the sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, would be quite different from the first film.

He said: "(It's going to be) very different. A completely new experience and that's how the directors choose to see it. I mean there's even a new origin sequence."

UKPA, January 6

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Is Cage starring in his own reboot, then?

That is okay with me. :)

Had I been in charge of the new Superman film (instead of that Snyder fellow)...I would have offered Routh the opportunity to be his own Superman.

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