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Cage GHOST RIDER Burning Out?

Nicolas Cage says scheduling conflict with director makes it less likely he'll take on role of Johnny Blaze

By James Berkshire     August 20, 2001


Early character designs for the GHOST RIDER film bear a striking resemblance to actor Nicolas Cage
© 2001 Bernie Wrightson

The long-gestating movie adaptation of Marvel Comics' GHOST RIDER has hit another bump in the road. It looks like actor Nicolas Cage might not climb onto Johnny Blaze's motorbike after all.



Cage had been all geared up to tackle the role of the two-wheeling demon avenger, but a scheduling conflict with director Stephen Norrington (BLADE) has thrown the latest incarnation of the project into doubt, the actor told Cinescape.



"I don't know what's going to happen with that right now, because the director went and took another job," Cage said. "We were going to go, and I don't know what happened. So now I'm not doing it."



Norrington has signed on to helm the Jennifer Lopez action flick TICK TOCK, the timing of which conflicts with the director's planned involvement in GHOST RIDER. This puts GHOST RIDER's producers (including actor Jon Voight) in the position of either finding another director or further delaying the production, either of which could lead to Cage's departure.



Cage, a longtime comic book fan who borrowed his stage name from another Marvel character Luke Cage a.k.a. Power Man has been interested in taking on a larger-than-life superhero role for years. At one point, he was attached to play the Man of Steel in a new SUPERMAN film. He's also rumored to have been involved in efforts to mount big-screen versions of IRON-MAN, HELLBLAZER and LOBO.



"The comic book idea for me was very dear to my heart because I grew up learning how to read through comic books, and I've always been interested in comic book art and illustration," Cage said. "Figuring out a way to do that in a movie would be exciting, but that's a very hard thing to pull off.



"GHOST RIDER, to me, would be the best way to do it would be the most cinematic choice because that character is more like a horror film. SUPERMAN was interesting to me because that's the big daddy of comic books, it spawned the whole thing."



Cage is currently trying to set up an adaptation of a lesser-known comic title Dark Horse's HARD-BOILED through his own Saturn Films production banner.



"It's really an interesting character sort of a cyborg," Cage said. "We're trying to develop that at Warner Bros., so that might happen."



For the moment, however, the Oscar winner has no immediate plans to focus his acting talents on a comic book-derived role, whether of the caped superhero or flaming-headed demon variety.



"I don't know if it will ever really happen, it was just an interesting genre that for some reason I keep getting derailed by," he said. "Maybe that's a good thing."

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