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Ghost Rider Tone

Published July 25, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Columbia Pictures.
Ghost Rider Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider is aiming for a PG-13, but it will have a tough time with the MPAA because of all the flaming skull violence. The filmmakers are hoping that they can balance the tone of intensity with enough fantasy to keep the MPAA from slapping it with the R for reality-based gore.

Ghost Rider's MPAA Rating


“You have to find the right balance to get it,” said star Nicolas Cage. “It’s a very fine line and you have to blend the joy of absurdity and comedy with truly scary imagery. I think the best example of that I’d ever seen before was American Werewolf in London. That was the template in my mind’s eye that I wanted to try to aspire to get into that zone. Because I loved that movie when I went to see it. I never forgot it.”

That film was rated R for gore, though it was before PG-13 existed. Recently, another hell-based movie, Constantine, got an R, along with lousy reviews. Ghost Rider director Mark Stephen Johnson kept that in mind.

“I actually liked Constantine,” John son said. “I thought it got a bad rap. I think it’s a better movie than most people gave it credit for. But there have been a lot of movies about this subject and it’s tough because you have to build your own world and I never wanted to go into hell and I didn’t really want to be Spawn. That’s not what we wanted to make. I wanted to make something on this world. And it’s far out enough with the flaming skull and the hell cycle that we don’t need to be going there, too. So we just had to create our own version of this, I thought, and I thought using end of days is always fascinating and maybe fallen angels is fascinating. That’s a really fantastic world to put that into the shape of a western, this gothic western which I’d never seen before.”



Cage has always been a fan of comic books, and has been trying to make a comic book movie since his original tryouts for Superman in the ‘90s. “The thing about comic book films is it’s a fantasy world,” Cage said. “It’s thoroughly entertaining and it doesn’t rely on gratuitous violence, and you can charm children and adults alike. I’m very happy for it. It’s almost a perfect medium for film, the comic book-based story structures.”

Ultimately, Ghost Rider balances surreal violence with a deadpan sort of comedy in dealing with profound human themes. “This one’s really about choice,” said Johnson. “It’s something that Nic had come up with during the shooting about second chances and about everyone deserves a second chance. It’s a big theme in the movie, obviously shown in the most graphic way we could and the most horrifying and interesting and dramatic way we could. But I felt like there were really big themes in this film. We had done with heaven and hell and you’re in a big playground and it’s not a character who puts on spandex and fights evil. It’s so different. He’s a superhero of a very different sort. I think there hasn’t been one like it in quite a long time. I always felt like Nic is the Lon Chaney of his generation in a way, which for me that’s a compliment, the biggest I can give. When you see him, quick cuts of him transforming, it’s fantastic. If it was black and white it would be awesome. It would be Lon Chaney, it would be Bela Lugosi, it’s fantastic. No one could do it like Nic could.”

Ghost Rider will come to theatres on February 16th, 2007.

For the movie poster, trailers, stills, set pics, movie info and synopsis, go to the Ghost Rider Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Columbia Pictures.
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