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Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Question: Penance stare?

Johnson: Penance stare weıre still working on. Thatıs the toughest one of the whole movie. I donıt want to do the little vignettes because weıve seen those before, where you put together little quick cut pieces of peopleıs sins. The penance stare, if everybody doesnıt know, is where Ghost Rider says, ³Look into my eyes,² and you can look at all thesins theyıve done to other people and you make them relive those sins, like tenfold. He doesnıt kill anybody, Ghost Rider. But he does make like this fate worse than death because youıre dropped. How do you do that without becoming a little-movie is a challenge.

Question: Are you keeping the hellfire out of his hands?

Johnson: Out of the hands? You mean shooting it? No, but I have him throwing hellfire in one scene, which is pretty cool. Any fire around, he can manipulate it. What I didnıt do was get into the Human Torch. Thatıs whatıs hard about the Marvel characters, there are so many. Human Torch or Pyro. You got to make sure itıs different.

Question: Did you have any scenes with Nic as Ghost Rider?

Mendes: No. I did have one scene where I see him changing to the Ghost Rider and that freaks my character out, as it would freak anybody out. So thatıs a pretty intense scene. Also at the end, thereıs a really sweet thing. I donıt know. Are we still going to do that?

Johnson: I donıt know. We canıt give that away.

Mendes: Oh, right. (laughter).

Question: Are they making an action figure out of your character?

Mendes: I donıt think so because, and I say this happily, Iım the chick in this movie and I like that. I donıt do that in the movie. Iım the girl and Iım his woman, and thereıs something kind of just romantic about that.

Question: Does this have a Western feel?

Johnson: Itıs straight-out Western. Again, thereıs so many of these comic-book movies, and you have to find a way to make yours different. And thatıs why I wanted to take it out of New York City or Gotham or whatever you want to call it and take it into Texas. Itıs an unnamed town and it feels very much like Once Upon a Time in the West meets like a Hammer film. Itıs cool. It doesnıt look like anything else.

Question: Does it have humor?

Johnson: Yeah. I didnıt want it to be too jokey, but Nicıs really funny, so automatically there's a lot of humor in the movie.

Mendes: That's what's really nice about it. It's like nothing I've ever been a part of.

Johnson: You need it because it's really horrific. Because when the stuff where he changes ... you're used to seeing it in the comic panel, but when you see somebody when the flesh is blown off his face and coming off his skull, it's really intense. And even just the Ghost Rider walking around, but even the test footage, it's just intense. That's an intense image. So you have to balance that with some humor.

Mendes: You know, any time you sell your soul to the devil, there's darkness there. You're dealing with such dark stuff, Nic, just acting off of him, made some many fun choices that are real. When the stakes are high in life, we just make jokes to just survive and get through it.

Question: Are you happy to be working with Sony on this movie?

Johnson: Yeah, it's been great. Sony really gets it. They're really supportive. Marvel movies have obviously done very well for them. They've been terrific. They've given up everything we've wanted. It's been a fantastic experience.

Question: Are there differences from working on this compared to Daredevil?

Johnson: Daredevil, it's flawed. Obviously, there's problems with it. You lose battles and you win battles. Luckily, than God, you can do a director's cut and add 25 minutes of the story, which is good for the story.

Question: Were you named director after Nicolas Cage was attached?

Johnson: Yeah, Nic's been attached for a long time. He's been attached for years to the project.

Question: What about the Nicolas Cage curse with comic book films?

Johnson: What is that curse? I don't know about it. (laughs) Shold I be concerned?

Question: He's been attached to several comics films over the last few years.

Johnson: He and I talked about it, too, and he couldn't believe it either. A lot of people thought it was him pulling out of movies, and it wasn't. It was just things going wrong. He was on Constantine for a while, I know, and of course he was Superman for a while. He had a full suit and it was ready to go. And everything fell part.

Iron Man, I think he was interested. I don't know how close he was. There's been a lot of them. But when I met with him, he said Ghost Rider was always the one.

Mendes: He has a Ghost Rider tattoo on his arm, which kind of proves it. He had it done years ago.

Johnson: You know, it's interesting and I shouldn't be talking about Nic's tattoos...

Mendes: The one on his lower butt cheek? (laughs). That was a joke!

Question: What did you think of Roxanne in the original 70s Marvel comics?

Mendes: I actually thought she was a very, hot vuloptuous blonde who was a little victimy for my tastes. She cried a lot. What I want to thank Mark for is taking a chance and thinking outside the box. Obviously, I'm not blonde and I don't look like the original comic book Roxanne.

Question: How did you change her for the movie?

Mendes: Well, now she's darker. (laughs) A little more exotic. And she's stronger. She's really crazy in love with this man and willing to stand beside him through thick and thin, but also having a life of her own, being an independent woman a career woman. Just this inner strength and not being a victim.

Question: In the comic, Roxanne was the only thing keeping him out of hell. Is that in there?

Johnson: No, that didn't work for me. I thought that was always bizarre that Johnny makes a deal with the devil and suddenly Roxie breaks out spells. I guess she's been studying up on the occult. She's this wholesome girl and suddenly she's got the candles, the pentagram and the blood. Jesus, where did that come from? That seems a little odd.

Question: Is this going to be a PG-13 film that will be an R-rated version for the DVD?

Johnson: I don't know. Because it hasn't been rated yet. It's an intense movie?

Question:You have flesh burning in a PG-13 movie?

Johnson: That's a good point. I'm not sure. I think it will all be in the movie. I think PG-13 is going further and further in a good way. I think you can get more in a PG-13. War of the Worlds was PG-13 and there's some pretty intense stuff in there, really intense, graphic stuff.

But obviously, we have to have the transformation. And we're dealing with Hell, which puts in you a darker place. That's why, again, we have to have a bunch of humor.

But it's not like I shot a bunch of stuff where I thought it would be in only an R-rated and unrated director's cut.

Question: You're not obliged to do a PG-13 film?

Johnson: I am. Yes, I am.

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