John Carpenter revealed that he had become burnt out after he had made this film and made the decision of leaving Hollywood for good. It would not be until nine years later that he made a full feature film, which was The Ward (2010).
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In a 2011 interview, Carpenter stated he was intentionally trying to make Ghosts Of Mars as over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek as possible. He claimed he was trying to make a mindless and silly, yet highly entertaining and thrilling, action flick where "the universe allows its characters and plot points to be silly without being full-fledged comedies", akin to 80's movies like Commando (1985), Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985), and Predator (1987). Looking back on the film and its criticism, he stated he was frustrated that most people thought the film was meant to be a serious horror movie, and feels that he should've made the film more openly comedic and "in on the joke", saying "...it's called Ghosts Of Mars for Christ's sake, why would people take this movie seriously?"
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Filmed entirely at night.
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Jason Statham was originally hired to play James "Desolation" Williams, but was replaced by Ice Cube for star power.
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Much of the location shooting was done on a gypsum mine near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gypsum, which is almost pure white, was sprayed with a biodegradable red food dye to give the appearance of a Martian landscape.
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Natasha Henstridge replaced Courtney Love (the original choice) at the last minute. Love left the project after her boyfriend's ex-wife ran over her foot in her car while she was in training for the picture. Michelle Yeoh, Franka Potente and Famke Janssen were briefly considered. Henstridge was suggested by her then-boyfriend Liam Waite, and was able to join the cast just a week before production began. The actress found the experience to be very harrowing, due to the heavily physical nature of her role and the difficult working conditions.
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The prosthetics that the main bad guy wears were rather too large for his mouth and resulted in most of the "ghost-speak" having only the "a" vowel sound.
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For the film's score, music producer Bruce Robb brought in famed heavy metal band Anthrax to play to picture for director John Carpenter, who had originally filmed the movie listening to Metallica. The film's score is entirely original and was recorded by Robb at his Cherokee Studios in Hollywood. The film's DVD offers a bonus feature with behind-the-scenes footage in the studio with the musicians, Carpenter and Robb.
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Production had to shut down for a week when Natasha Henstridge fell ill due to extreme exhaustion (she had just done two other films back-to-back before joining the production at the last moment).
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In a 2006 interview, Ice Cube nominated this as the worst movie he had appeared in, calling it "unwatchable in many ways. John Carpenter really let us down with the special effects on that one - it looked like something out of a film from 1979".
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This film contains Jason Statham's first ever on-screen kiss.
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The narrator on the trailer is Keith David, who played a supporting role in The Thing (1982), a film also directed by John Carpenter.
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For the film's soundtrack, director and composer John Carpenter called upon various rock musicans to help enhance his own score. They include members of Anthrax, Steve Vai, Guns N' Roses' guitarists Buckethead and Robin Finck and Elliot Easton (formerly of The Cars).
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The opening features a model train they "tried to make look less like a model but it still looks just like a model." It apparently fooled Henstridge though.
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Henstridge recalls being "out of shape and out of breath" during production, and Carpenter adds that he was told she refused to work out with the stunt coordinator.
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The film takes place in 2176.
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During the fight scene in front of the train station, only the police are wearing the "oxygen" glasses necessary to breath on Mars.
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Henstridge describes herself as an "intuitive-based" actor, and Carpenter agrees adding that Kurt Russell is the same way.
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The script was originally written as a sequel to "Escape from LA", but Paramount wouldn't back it as such due to the financial and critical failure of its predecessor.
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Clea DuVall appeared in The Grudge (2004) while her co-star Joanna Cassidy appeared in The Grudge 2 (2006).
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