Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider Inspiration: His Cobra

03/28/2012 at 03:55 PM EDT

Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider Character Inspired by Cobra
Nicolas Cage
Albert L. Ortega/PictureGroup

Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa

To play Ghost Rider, the vigilante antihero whose head is a flaming skull, Nicolas Cage looked to source material that was close to home.

"When you're playing something that's completely outside of your reference point, who you want to project as kind of like a bad dream, something enigmatic, something you don't understand, you have to look at other sources to inspire the body language," Cage told Kelly Ripa and Josh Groban on Live! With Kelly last month.

The inspiration for this devilish character ended up coming from one of his pets. "I did have a pet cobra named Sheba, and she hated my guts," he said. "Whenever I would go into the room, she would show me her back. She would start to sway back and forth in a rhythmic motion."

Cage believes that Sheba was trying to hypnotize him, because after swaying for a while, she would suddenly lunge at him, in an attempt to attack.

"I thought, 'Why don't we have Ghost Rider do that?' If you look at the movie, you see me doing this [swaying back and forth], and then I spin around and leap at my victims."

Watch the clip for more from Nicholas Cage on Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – the part about the cobra starts around the 4:19 mark.

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