A few weeks ago I posted something called “7 Days with Producer Dan Lin“. The reason for the title was we discussed so many different projects, it took seven days to post them all. Thankfully, the interview went over extremely well, and now it’s time for a new “7 Days” column and this one is with producer Mike De Luca.
As you can tell by looking over his resume, De Luca has produced over 50 films and he’s got tons of projects in development. While I’ll be posting updates on Metal Gear Solid, Butter, Fright Night, Dracula Year Zero and tons of other things in the coming days, tonight is all about Ghost Rider 2.
For those who don’t know, the sequel to Ghost Rider is moving ahead full steam with a script by David Goyer. According to De Luca, “We have an outline that David wrote that kind of adapts his 2001 script into today’s times with incorporating kind of an original idea of Nic’s.”
We talked about whether or not Mark Steven Johnson will be back directing and if Eva Mendes would return as Roxanne Simpson. Oh, and he told me the tentative title is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. So much more after the jump:
Here’s the thing, if you’re a fan of Ghost Rider, the interview you’re about to read should make you extremely excited for a sequel. Everything De Luca and I talked about on and off the record tells me the studio knows the first film had issues and they’re really working hard to get the sequel right. Of course the proof is in the pudding, so how about these facts:
— Mark Steven Johnson is not directing the sequel
— Eva Mendes will not return as Roxanne Simpson
— Ghost Rider 2 (or Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance) will be a hard PG-13
— The film is going to take place in Europe
— De Luca is open to David Goyer directing the sequel but it all comes down to his very busy schedule
— Says the sequel will be like “pushing the reset button” on the franchise
— As you might expect from the success of Avatar, Ghost Rider 2 might be done in 3D
— Says Goyer has just delivered his updated outline to the studio
— And says Ghost Rider 2 could be in front of the cameras this year
Here’s the full transcript of us talking Ghost Rider 2. As I said, it’s a great conversation and I think fans are really going to like what he had to say. Look for a lot more from “7 Days with Producer Mike De Luca” either tomorrow night or Sunday.
Collider: I spoke to David Goyer a few months ago and he mentioned you were taking his script from…
Mike De Luca: 2001.
Exactly. Could you talk about where the project is right now?
De Luca: Sure. We have an outline that David wrote that kind of adapts his 2001 script into today’s times with incorporating kind of an original idea of Nic’s that Goyer thought added to the mix in good way-that we all thought added to the mix in a good way-that gets Ghost Rider into a bigger arena to kind of apply our story in. So Goyer has just delivered that outline to us in the studio and we’re waiting to hear back and then we’ll know if we can go to like that revised script. But since we’re starting from something already written, it’s been a pretty speedy process.
I believe Nick said that, and I could be wrong about this, but he wanted to take “Ghost Rider” to Europe?
De Luca: Yes.
Is this what he brought to the table?
De Luca: Yeah, the idea was because Ghost Rider is a unique blend of theology and action and the character deals with the kind of battle of good vs. evil in a theological sense, that Europe you could avail yourself of a lot of religious sites and kind ancient religious site and a history of theology as a setting that isn’t available in the U.S. We wanted to kind of signal that we’re as different from the first movie just because we want to be fresh and new as you can get in terms of getting away from southwestern kind of pseudo-western thing.
So I guess a big things with fans is are you guys aiming to do another PG-13 or are looking more towards the R arena?
Okay. I totally get it. Of course I have to ask, is Eva…is she part of the sequel or that still a work in progress?
De Luca: Roxanne is not a part of the sequel.
And what about Mark?
De Luca: Mark’s not a part of the sequel.
So when could David…because David is busy with Flash Forward….
De Luca: Right.
Is David a possibility for being behind the camera on this or is this sort of going to be a new director?
De Luca: It’ll be a new director but David would be kind of a new director to the mix in terms of not having done anything with Ghost Rider before. I’ve talked about it with him just because I’m a fan of David’s. A lot depends on his schedule and a lot depends on where we are when the script comes in, but I think just for me personally, this is just me speaking not Avi Arad or the studios, I have tremendous respect for David, I always have. We did Blade together when I was at New Line, and I thought the Flash Forward pilot was one of the best episodic pieces of TV direction I’ve seen in a long time, so I’d be excited to have that conversation with David if and when we get up to that point and schedules permit. But I want to keep it, and he knows this too, we want to keep it open for the right person to present themselves and if that could be David or it might be someone else, but I think we’ll know more after we read the draft.
Do you think it’s a possibility that Ghost Rider 2 could be in front of the cameras in 2010?
De Luca: Oh for sure.
Has the studio already talked to you about a possible release date and is that on the table right now?
De Luca: No, because we’re early and we don’t have the first draft yet of kind of the new version of David’s script. It’s just been about script development at this point.
Are you aiming for a similar budget with the first film or because of the success of the first film, which did quite well, that maybe you have a little bit more to play with?
De Luca: Actually I think we would all like to do it for less than the first film just because I think that we have time here in terms of planning that we didn’t have on the first film and I don’t foresee, although you never know with these things, getting into a situation where we’re rewriting as we’re shooting, which always drives up the cost of special effects movies. I think, since we have so much lead time on this one, the idea would be to lock a script and do it the traditional way of like just shooting what we’ve written and not inventing as we go because it’s a real smart way….if you can do it, you can’t always do it, but it’s a real smart way to manage costs. I actually think we can bring this one in….also the nature of his story, his plot from his 2001 script, it’s more intimate, it’s more contained.
Is it a character piece or more of an action piece?
De Luca: It’s both….it’s plot heavy. It’s got a story that is apparent, that you can follow, that means something in the end. But it is rich in character development, which is a mark of David’s writing I think.
Is this is the kind of thing where you’re almost hitting reset on the Ghost Rider universe and it’s sort of branching off on this new path where this could be the start of more films in a different direction?
De Luca: Yes. That’s a good way to put it. Reset is a good way to put it. Because I thought even with the Ghost Rider comic there were so many iterations. It’s one of those characters that’s almost like a blank slate. Even the rules of it and his powers and the way in some runs of the comic, the bike is a physical thing that gets turned into a hell cycle. In some versions of the comic he shoots the hell cycle out of his hands and there’s no real bike at all. You know, there’s just little differences as each artist and writer tackled the character that kind of frees us to be different with this next movie, but it is pushing the reset button, and I think putting the character in kind of an appropriate darker context.
If this movie takes place in Europe, do you think you would film in Europe or would try to make America fit Europe?
De Luca: Oh no we’d go to Europe. I think you’ve got to go to Europe and really take advantage of again like the history that that continent is steeped in, especially when it comes to issues of theology and religion and really like religion and religious artifacts that pre-date Christianity and Biblical times.
So you’re almost mixing a little bit of the National Treasure historical kind of thing but with the religion with Ghost Rider? Is that sort of….
De Luca: Well, he’s not on the trail of artifacts. It’s not steeped in history that way. It’s more like a milieu. It’s more like we’re using the fact that the continent has the history it has just as atmosphere. It’s still a very….and that 2001 script has been on the Internet, but if you ever get a chance to look at it, it’s a really intimate kind of redemption story and it’s very brutal and it moves like a freight train in that spirit, you know, with the Ghost Rider doing, I think, things that are very also kind of like jaw dropping, commercial set pieces and whatnot. They’re all there but it’s a very intimate storyline that lets you have some character development.
It’s very interesting that Sony and you guys would be looking at an older script because Fox looked at an old Robert Rodriguez script for Predators and they ended up going with that. They said we want a cool movie and bang they made Predators based on an older script.
De Luca: Right.
It’s funny that the studios are willing all of a sudden look backwards and see what have we developed?
De Luca: Yeah, I think it was really smart. It was sitting there. They own it and with writers like Goyer who’ve progressed from where he began to Dark Knight and what he’s doing on television, it’s hard not to take advantage of something that he produced that’s just sitting there because it’s a really creditable screenplay for the character.
Do you think Ghost Rider 2 is a feasible 3D movie? Would you like to see a Ghost Rider 2 in 3-D?
De Luca: As audience member, I’d almost like to see any special effects movie in 3D right now. Seeing Avatar, I mean it just excited me so much that I think that if you’re not telling a story where 3D would get in the way or distract you from emotion or plot, I think it’s worth bringing up for discussion for every genre movie I’m dealing with including Ghost Rider – which we’re calling Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance.
Oh really? Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance.
De Luca: At least right now. Everything’s always TBD but that’s from the comics and I thought that was a cool title and Goyer agreed.
Would it have a Ghost Rider 2 or just Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance?
De Luca: It’s up to Sony. I’d advocate….I don’t like numbers so I’d advocate Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance. But it’s their call.
For more on Ghost Rider 2, here’s my interview with David Goyer from a few months ago.