"I was concerned that this wasn't sort of your typical hero. I wanted to approach it from the point of view of someone who is beleaguered by this contract of selling his soul to the devil. So if you were somebody that was experiencing a great deal of pain, like in a dental chair you try to relax by listening to dentist's music or things like that, so I'm trying to play Johnny Blaze more in that direction than the hard drinking and smoking bad ass. I'm playing him more as someone who, he's made this deal and he's trying to avoid confronting it, anything he can do to keep it away from him."
"The main thing that appealed to me about the character was that it was dealing with very complicated spiritual issues. And for a comic book, that to me seemed different than all the others. I have a line in the movie that we worked on in the movie where I say I'm the only one that can walk in both worlds. And Ghost Rider really is that, when you think about it. Spider-Man doesn't go into the supernatural or the spiritual world. Superman doesn't. Batman doesn't. But Ghost Rider really walks this dimension between two different worlds, and to me that is interesting. I find all that fascinating. I've always had an interest in the possibility of ghosts and the possibility of things that are in the unknown that we don't really comprehend or understand. So that made it more exciting for me. The other idea, that you can take a negative and turn it into a positive. How do you take this terrible mistake of making a deal with the devil and how do you take this curse and turn it into something good? Which, to me is unusual for a comic book based movie. It's a pretty deep concept. And I was reading it when I was 10 years old. So that's pretty heavy stuff for kids to be reading."
"It’s been a lot of fun. I’m really enjoying my experience with Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. They’re not like anybody I’ve worked with before. They’re total originals. Mark Neveldine is doing things with the camera that are just brand new. He’s on rollerblades. He’s hanging off of wires at 300 feet. He’s just doing things that are combination stuntman and camera operator/director that are quite shocking and quite risky. And Brian Taylor is just a philosopher when it comes to movies. You can talk to him about Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, and you can go into Ishiro Honda’s The War of the Gargantuas, in the same sentence. He’s definitely giving me a chance to bring a lot to the character. His idea to have me play Ghost Rider as well was inspired. We’ve been coming up with a lot of interesting things to do in the abstract, to help support the supernatural aspect of the character. He is the most supernatural superhero of all, after all."
"It means a lot to me. I have high hopes for it. I’m very confident that something special is going to come out of this experience. You can just feel it on the set."
"I don’t want to give anything away, but I know that the Ghost Rider character will definitely mess with their minds."
"Oh, it’s impossible not to have it come to my attention, one way or another. I try not to take anything personally. So far, everything seems to be pretty positive, though."
"The director's on rollerblades, and hanging from wires with the camera, holding on to the motorcycle..."
"There's an exorcism scene I just did where Johnny Blaze is being exorcized. And then I also play Ghost Rider, who's the spirit of Zarathos, who's a corrupted angel. So it's like completely different entities. The movie is not like anything I've done before."
"It was the first time that I played Ghost Rider. Blaze was easy; I knew he was a man who had been living with a curse for eight years of having his head light on fire, and the tone that would take. I compared him to a cop, or a paramedic who develops a dark sense of humour to cope with the horrors he has seen. But Blaze has also caused the horrors, so he's hiding out because he doesn't want to hurt anyone else."
"Ghost Rider was an entirely new experience, and he got me thinking about something I read in a book called The Way Of Wyrd by Brian Bates, and he also wrote a book called The Way Of The Actor. He put forth the concept that all actors, whether they know it or not, stem from thousands of years ago – pre-Christian times – when they were the medicine men or shamans of the village. And these shamans, who by today's standards would be considered psychotic, were actually going into flights of the imagination and locating answers to problems within the village. They would use masks or rocks or some sort of magical object that had power to it."
"It occurred to me, because I was doing a character as far out of our reference point as the spirit of vengeance, I could use these techniques. I would paint my face with black and white make up to look like a Afro-Caribbean icon called Baron Samedi, or an Afro-New Orleans icon who is also called Baron Saturday. He is a spirit of death but he loves children; he's very lustful, so he's a conflict in forces. And I would put black contact lenses in my eyes so that you could see no white and no pupil, so I would look more like a skull or a white shark on attack."
"On my costume, my leather jacket, I would sew in ancient, thousands-of-years-old Egyptian relics, and gather bits of tourmaline and onyx and would stuff them in my pockets to gather these energies together and shock my imagination into believing that I was augmented in some way by them, or in contact with ancient ghosts. I would walk on the set looking like this, loaded with all these magical trinkets, and I wouldn't say a word to my co-stars or crew or directors. I saw the fear in their eyes, and it was like oxygen to a forest fire. I believed I was the Ghost Rider."
"I think the ship has sailed on that one. At least with me involved."
" Contrary to whatever the perception is, that was an enormously successful movie. We made it for, like, $47 or $48 million dollars, and it approached $200 million. I view that as a success. I think people need to know we did that on a shoestring budget. When you look at it that way you see the enormous talent of Mark Neveldine and Bryan Taylor, that they were able to accomplish that."
"Personally, I'm done. I've done what I had to do with that part. You never say never, but right now, today, I would say that I'm done."
"There was a kind of playful creativity to the experience of making Kick-Ass that I enjoyed thoroughly, particularly because of Matthew Vaughn’s direction and his willingness to go in these pretty unusual waters. He was open to the idea of me channeling Adam West to play Big Daddy. I can’t think of another director who would allow that, but at the same time he was really the captain of his own ship."
"I did all of the fighting, so when you see the movie it’s clearly me. I only had one fight sequence—it took a bit to rehearse that and get it down because there was quite a bit of choreography involved. I think I started rehearsing the fight sequence the day I got there, and it was a two-week shoot for me. There is a time and a place for stunt doubles, but generally speaking I find that I’m usually doing my own stunts because it’s what the director and, quite frankly, what the audience wants. There are some places where it doesn’t make sense because it’s a wide shot or so far away that no one really can tell either way. Most of the time it’s me."
Other Marvel projects
"I'm working on She-Hulk and I'd like to see Eva play her. It would be her in a bikini just kicking a lot of ass, throwing cars. I'm trying to put that together as we speak."
"I'm open to anything. I just, y'know, want to try something else, try something new. Doctor Strange is interesting, but I don't know. Right now I'm in a phase where I'm more interested in going back to my roots and doing independently spirited dramatic films. That's sort of what I'm in process with right now. I don't really see another comic book film anytime soon."
"Look, the truth is I’m not obsessed with comics. I don’t read comics as a 49-year-old man. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I have other interests that are more in tune with where I’m at right now. But I’m loyal and I will never forget the impressions that comics gave me as a child. They are like primitive cartoons and those characters became like a modern mythology that’s touched the world. So animated movies are like cousins to comics."