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JOHNNY WHITWORTH

YRB: How was it working with Nicolas Cage and directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor? Johnny: Well, Mark and Brian are very kinetic. They’re constantly moving. They have a very symbiotic kind of way of working together, but then they also have their own likes and dislikes, and they have their own versions of ways that things should be played. They kind of trade off the directing hat depending on the scene; they pretty much, 95 percent of the time, have both cameras ready at all times, and no take is the same. The camera doesn’t stand still, so it’s very kinetic. I’ve never worked with anything like what these guys are doing; you feel that energy in the camera. They put it in there as well as the actors bringing it. Nic, what can I say about Nic? Nicolas Cage is a wicked, great actor in the best sense of the word because he follows such impulses and he’s just not afraid, like in all his work. And I really appreciate that… I don’t know, there’s nobody like him… He is as eccentric as he is normal… YRB: Can you tell us a little bit about your character, Blackout? Johnny: I play dual characters. I mean, they’re the same character, but he’s human through a majority of the script, and then he gets turned into the comic book villain, Blackout. [While] it’s based on Blackout, this guy actually has more powers and is more interesting than what I read in the comics. When we start off he’s kind of a sociopathic mercenary, and then he’s a bad dude, and then he gets turned into Blackout and he goes full-fledged psychopath.

YRB: How exactly does the film character differ from the comic book version? Johnny: Well, in the comic book the character is actually a mutant. From my understanding, he was born the way that he was; he was Blackout and wherever he went it was night, and so he started to relate himself to vampires. So then he kind of created himself in fashion of a vampire, with fangs and sharpening his fingernails. If you read the comics, he was often called Blackout the Vampire, but he wasn’t born a vampire. He just related to them because he was always in night. In our movie, he kind of controls that power; he can make it night and then go back to day, he can actually be in the daylight, he has powers of decay, which means he can actually make things rot. It was described to me, when Mark was talking to me about playing him, he was saying, ‘If Ghost Rider is the spirit of vengeance, Blackout is the spirit of decay.’ And that spoke to me; that set me on a path.

YRB: What was the filming experience like? Did you do anything to physically prepare for the role? Johnny: I try to stay in shape because when you’re already in shape you don’t have to get ready. But as far as the physicality, I knew a lot of it was gonna be done with prosthetics, so with the physical training there wasn’t much I could do. The psychological image that both of these characters [have] kind of permeate their beings, and it took some digging – not that much. I mean, I have a dark side that I can tap into and use at my disposal, and I have a good imagination, so I kind of took a lot of freedom in the fact that it was a comic book character. I played [Roarke] Carrigan very human, as human as a sociopath can be I guess, and when he became Blackout it was no holds barred. Nothing was too big, nothing was too loud, nothing was too flamboyant; there were no rules because this guy hadn’t been depicted in a way that I felt I was constricted by.

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