Ok, so Nicolas Cage has just shot up to the top of my list of craziest actors in Hollywood. In a recent interview with Empire Online, the actor talks about how he prepared for his role as Ghost Rider. The interview starts out pretty normal when he's asked about how he prepared for the character, but the interview progressively gets stranger and stranger, and he talks about painting his face black with voodoo paint and carrying around magical rocks and amulets in his pockets to help him contact ancient ghosts.
Here's what he had to say:
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.
That's a pretty normal start to the interview... right? But then he goes on.
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.
That may be a little weird, but it's not really that surprising coming from Cage, but this next statement through me for a loop.
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 honestly can't tell if he's serious or not! But, if he is then that's pretty freakin' hard core. What are your thoughts on Cage's techniques of channeling his inner Ghost Rider?