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© 2001 Bernie Wrightson 
Early character designs for the GHOST RIDER film bear a striking resemblance to actor Nicolas Cage 
Cinescape Exclusive
Cage GHOST RIDER Burning Out?
Nicolas Cage says scheduling conflict with director makes it less likely he�ll take on role of Johnny Blaze

Dateline: Monday, August 20, 2001

By: Correspondent

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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