Nicolas Cage would like to see Ghost Rider return to the big screen in an R-rated movie, but with someone other than himself in the lead role. The Marvel comics character Ghost Rider, who has gone through many iterations over the years, first appeared in his now-familiar supernatural form in 1972. Cage played the Johnny Blaze version of the character – a stunt cyclist who gives up his soul to become a flaming-skulled vigilante – in 2007’s Ghost Rider.
The first Ghost Rider movie finished as a modest hit for Sony Pictures, grossing $228 million worldwide on a reported $110 million production budget. Cage returned for the 2012 sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which only grossed about half as much as the original. Despite the extreme nature of the Ghost Rider character, both films came in with PG-13 ratings, disappointing those eager for a more adult take on the anti-hero.
Speaking to JoBlo, Nicolas Cage revealed that he’s one of those people who wishes Ghost Rider would’ve received a more extreme treatment. Cage said he would love to see an R-rated Ghost Rider but concedes that he would not be the man to play the character in a hypothetical future film:
“Y’know, Ghost Rider was a movie that always should’ve been an R-rated movie. David Goyer had a brilliant script, which I wanted to do with David and for whatever reason they just didn’t let us make the movie. But that movie is a still a movie that should be made, not with me obviously, but it should be an R-rated movie-heck, Deadpool was R-rated and that did great. Ghost Rider was designed to be a scary superhero with an R-rating and edge and they just didn’t have it worked out back then.”
As it turns out, Cage is not alone in his disdain for watered down Ghost Rider. Spirit of Vengeance co-director Brian Taylor recently addressed the Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider character on the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he didn’t have anything nice to say about that version. Taylor referred to the TV Ghost Rider as a “clean, vanilla, G-rated” character and said he has no interest in that kind of take. Taylor also echoed Cage’s comments about the need for a scary, R-rated Ghost Rider movie.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there’s much momentum behind the idea of an R-rated Ghost Rider movie out there. It’s true that studios overall are more amenable these days to the idea of R-rated superhero movies thanks to the success of Logan and Deadpool. But with Ghost Rider now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to his inclusion on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., audiences shouldn’t hold their breath for Nicolas Cage and Brian Taylor’s dream to come true. Unless things change drastically on the superhero landscape, the two PG-13 Ghost Rider movies with Cage will likely be the closest anyone ever comes to realizing a scary incarnation of the character.
And if Ghost Rider ever did by some miracle make it back to the big screen in R-rated form, it doesn’t sound like Nicolas Cage is very optimistic about his chance to land the role. Cage seems resigned to the reality that his days playing comic book superheroes in franchise films have come to an end – at least for the most part. In the meantime, Cage keeps churning out his direct-to-video movies, including his latest opus The Humanity Bureau. At least Cage will finally get to play Superman, albeit only in voice form, in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.