If you needed to find an A-list star with a solid track record of box office success who was capable of headlining a blockbuster comic book adaptation revolving around a lesser-known character that morphs into a vengeful supernatural antihero with his skull on fire, then you couldn’t do much better than Nicolas Cage.
It also helped that the Academy Award winner had been a massive fan of Ghost Rider his entire life, with the makeup team forced to cover up Cage’s Johnny Blaze tattoo when he ended up playing the role in Mark Steven Johnson’s 2007 effort. It wasn’t the best superhero movie we’d ever seen, but it turned a profit and ended up getting a sequel, so it was hardly a failure.
In an interview with ComicBook, the director admitted that Cage’s deep-rooted love of the character was the main reason why he didn’t even consider casting anybody else as Ghost Rider.
“Nic was always the choice for Ghost Rider. He has such a love for this character. There was never talk of anyone else playing Johnny Blaze.”
It’s remarkable that the leading man’s hairpiece in Ghost Rider is arguably more distracting and out-of-place than seeing his entire head go up in flames, but we did at least get to see some classic Cage Rage when the first transformation occurs, which must have been quite a sight to see unfold on set.