Gabriel Luna has been giving new energy to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. these days. The actor has brought the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider to life in a way that has been pleasing long-time fans of the character.
In a recent interview with GWW, Luna shared that, Marvel had been pursuing him, but he didn’t know what character they had in mind. When he learned that the role that Marvel was pursuing him about was Ghost Rider, he had a similar reaction to many fans, thinking of the previous live-action version of the character. But the actor was excited to learn all that he could as fast as possible.
I did kind of a triple take at first and I had assumed they had known I was doing the Harley and the Davidson show and was like “Aw well, this guy rides a motorcycle so we can get him to play Ghost Rider”. I had no idea it was Robbie Reyes, the newest incarnation of the character, created by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore…I did my research and found out about the character and got on a Skype called with Jeph Loeb, Jed and the people at Marvel and we talked about it and the deal was done a couple of days later on a Sunday.
It makes sense that Luna would first think of the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider, which was depicted by Nicolas Cage in the 2007 feature film about the character. I’m glad we have Reyes involved in S.H.I.E.L.D., instead of Blaze. While his portrayal of Ghost Rider has involved many special effects, one of Luna’s first calls after learning he got the job, was to his stunt double.
I was excited, I called my mom, my little sister and then I called my stunt double, Morgan Benoit, and asked him what he was doing for the next few weeks, to months to possibly a few years. I was like “Hey man, we’re the Ghost Rider.” Now here we are working on it. The fact that all the stars aligned and all the pieces fell into place and Mark Kolpack, the CGI, the stunt guys, we put together a good product and people are really really enjoying the character.
The CGI has been very good for a television show, which is credited to the amazing work by Mark Kolpack, who approaches his job with enthusiasm.
Mark Kolpack, our VFX Supervisor is extremely enthusiastic about his work and extremely passionate about it and what we see on the screen every Tuesday. So much so that he can’t wait, he will just pull out his iPad and say “Look at this, look at this”, next day it’ll be more filling smoke and color, next day more details inside of the skull and the fire is flooding out, in an exhaust type of fashion. Every chance he gets he will show us the amazing steps he takes to getting this amazing picture ready. It’s phenomenal. When he first showed me a version of it, I thought it was fine, I thought that was the version we were going to put on the TV and I thought it was good at that point but what we see now is superb.
Luna went on to give some information on how those visuals are created in such a realistic way.
…I think really what takes it over the top and brings the realism is that Mark and the guys are actually burning real stuff all the time. They will go out back and at one point they will have a tire on fire and they will just spin it and photograph that and do a composite with what we shot and turn the wheel sideways and there you have the flaming wheels of the Hellcharger burling down Mariachi Plaza, chasing a guy in a pick up truck with a bazooka.
As far as the future of Ghost Rider, or of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in general, Luna hints that the new timeslot may have lost the show some fans.
We just gotta get those folks watching it on 10pm on Tuesdays. I’m not sure people caught on to the fact that we are on a different time this year. The response has been strong and I am really pleased and thankful for everyone tuning in and caring about the character.
Fans that remember the new time slot (10 PM EST) can catch the next episode on Tuesday, on ABC.