NYCC Exclusive: Neveldine & Taylor on Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The New York Comic Con is over, but we still have a bunch of things to share with you, and while The Avengers stole a lot of the glory this weekend, the Sony panel was also a lot of fun, especially the exclusive 3D trailer shown for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and the hilarious banter by filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. (If you missed it, you can read the replay of our live-blogging of the panel here.)

Before the panel, SuperHeroHype sat down with the guys for a brief interview. Since we already talked to them at San Diego Comic-Con just three months earlier, we already knew a lot about the movie, including the approach they're taking with Nicolas Cage doing the performance capture for the Ghost Rider and the way they work with Neveldine's infamous rollerblade camerawork. With that in mind, we decided to focus on the post-production process and how they're working on getting the film done for its release. As usual, they're both funny guys with an edgy attitude and sense of humor, which really comes through in their movies.

SuperHeroHype: We spoke a couple of months ago in San Diego and in the time since then, you've been working on finishing the movie. What's been taking up the most time in terms of the post? Is it just getting the FX right?
Mark Neveldine:
Absolutely. Working with Iloura, dealing with all the FX. You just go through so many different layers and levels and takes of it until you're happy with it and then, of course, dealing with 3D, and all the different stuff. Sound. This is a much bigger movie than we've ever worked on.
Brian Taylor: It's almost like making the movie twice. You're out there shooting for six months and then you're in post for six months. Or three times, 'cause it's 3D.

SHH: Do you already have an edit of the movie done and it's just a matter of getting everything else done or is the editing still in the process?
Taylor:
Well, they say you never really finish a movie. They just pull it away from you. You can keep tweaking and editing and tweaking and editing and with something like this, with the 3D and the FX and the sound and the music, you always think you're done with it but then there's more and then there's more and then there's more. It's a really complicated movie. It's fun, but there's a lot that goes into it.

SHH: Even with "Crank," it feels like you're doing a lot of processing. Were you a lot more hands-on with that stuff?
Neveldine:
Yeah, "Crank" movies are much more hands-on, but it's much more in-camera.
Taylor: Yeah, "Crank" didn't have a lot of CG

SHH: But you did processing in the edit.
Neveldine:
Yeah, but color-timing stuff is a piece of cake. You're talking about two or three days of work as opposed to with VFX in "Ghost Rider," it was probably six or seven months easily.
Taylor: Yeah, sometimes you thought of a shot a year ago and you don't see it for a week before its due a year later. These things can take a long time for these guys.

SHH: What's been the most surprising thing about this process and working on a bigger movie like this?
Neveldine:
I don't think anything really surprised us about it. The one thing I think was how great the FX were from Iloura. We were so nervous because we've never had any money to really make movies. You're sub-contracting out to all these VFX companies and you're getting some cool shots here and there, but you're never really… "Ah, it's not exactly what I wanted" but Iloura hit us with shots that were not only exactly what we wanted but better, so that was really cool. That was a really fun experience.
Taylor: With a movie like this, we really wanted the Ghost Rider to be a more intimidating presence. We didn't want the way the Ghost Rider looked to be jokey and silly like he may have been in the first movie. In order to do that, we were looking for a level of photo-realism in the Ghost Rider shots, that's something we haven't really done before. If you kind of get 2/3rds of the way there but you don't really get there, then the whole effect we were trying to get falls apart. So there's a lot of quality control of making sure that every shot really hit the bar of getting that photo-real, you're right there with him.

SHH: Have you guys changed the way you work to get this done? One guy focuses on the music or sound while the other focuses on FX?
Taylor:
Not really. We never really delegated anything. We just go in and… the thing about being a director is that you just have to have an opinion.
Neveldine: We try to get a lot of people who are better than us. (laughs) We try to get a whole team of people who can just get the work done and make it great, and hopefully we get what we brained up.

SHH: Have you guys found a lot of Ghost Rider fans either among the FX team or animators who are psyched about doing "Ghost Rider"?
Neveldine:
Yeah!
Taylor: There's Ghost Rider fans all over…
Neveldine: Our sound team loves Ghost Rider, huge fans.
Taylor: And we're feeling like there's a lot of wind behind our sails in terms of people wanting to see a version of the Ghost Rider that they didn't feel they got before and a version that was darker and scarier and kinda nastier and more awesome, I guess.

SHH: What are you guys doing for music? You had a pretty coup for "Crank 2" when you got Mike Patton doing the soundtrack. What are you doing for this one? More conventional?
Taylor:
No, it's a composer called Dave Sardy.
Neveldine: He did something called "Zombieland."

SHH: Oh, wow. I know Dave from when I used to do music 'cause I worked on a couple of Barkmarket records. He's awesome!
Taylor:
Then you know what a beast he is and he's perfect for this. He's able to do big cinematic kind of things but he can do rock that is legitimate rock and not a composer trying to rock out. His stuff is muscular and bad-ass and cool.

SHH: Yeah, I really liked the stuff he produced and then when he started doing soundtracks like "21" and "Zombieland," I was like, "Wow, he's really good at this sh*t."
Neveldine:
He is really good and you're gonna love the score for this, it's an awesome score.

SHH: Have you guys thought at all about what you want to do next or is it a matter of finishing this movie? I think doing "Crank 5" was the joke you guys made the last time we spoke.
Neveldine:
I think we're going to jump right to "Crank 10" – skip all and dive into that, but yeah, we're still thinking about it.

SHH: Are you going to have Jason in make-up as a 70 year old?
Taylor:
Yeah, "Crank" 3 through 9 we just decided were really boring movies at the end of the day, so we want to make a quantum leap and go to 10.

SHH: Do you guys generally have time to write and do that process while finishing this movie?
Taylor:
The good thing about writing is it's not actually like writing with a pencil. We actually get to use word processors and software and stuff, so it enables you to write really fast, so you can go "cut" and "paste."
Neveldine: You can cut and paste from the internet. Like if someone's got some cool sh*t there, you can just cut and paste that into your script.
Taylor: Yeah, you don't even really need to know how to spell because they have a thing on that you can press and then it fixes all your words.

SHH: Twitter is great because you can just randomize anything you read on Twitter into your script. (At this point, all three of us start riffing ideas of how this Twitter-written movie might work, though we won't bore you with that.) Can you guys give a hint of what we're going to see today?
Neveldine:
A cool behind-the-scenes clip showing the down and dirty way that we shoot and then after that, we're going to come out there and watch the 3D trailer that I think only has been seen – I don't think this version has ever been seen, but similar to the one that was seen at San Diego. It's not online, this version is not online.

SHH: I don't think they've ever done a 3D presentation at the IGN Theater.
Neveldine:
Really? Yes!
Taylor: If the 3D doesn't work, we might tip the screen over into the audience.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance opens in theaters on Friday, February 17.