Ghost tell us about new film ‘RITE HERE RITE NOW’: “The story goes far longer back than what we’ve exposed”

Ghost tell us about new film ‘RITE HERE RITE NOW’: “The story goes far longer back than what we’ve exposed”

Ghost frontman Tobias Forge and filmmaker Alex Ross Perry have spoken to NME about the band’s debut feature film, RITE HERE RITE NOW.

READ MORE: ‘Rite Here Rite Now’ review: Ghost’s metal-mad debut movie is grandiose, ghoulish fun

Out today (June 20), RITE HERE RITE NOW sees the band combine a typical concert film with an intricate narrative surrounding the band’s mysterious lore – one that’s been told since 2018. The film comes at the tail-end of Ghost’s touring cycle behind 2022’s ‘Impera’ as fans are left wondering where the band goes from here.

RITE HERE RITE NOW‘s mashing of the band’s fictional backstory and their music is the next step in band’s evolution. While the two elements have largely remained separate from one another – the band’s narrative has mostly played out through YouTube chapters over the last six years – for director Alex Ross Perry, the film’s a chance for fans to enjoy the band’s music and their lore all in one place.

Ghost. Credit: Ryan Chang/Trafalgar Releasing

As he puts it: “Ghost as a band is like a planet and the story is like the moon. The moon is not part of the planet, but it orbits the planet.”

Forge and Perry spoke to us about what it was like working together, why fans are so drawn to the band’s fictional story, a few surprises the film holds and more. Read the full interview below.

NME: Hello guys. Tobias, the story of Ghost has been evolving since 2018, when you first started releasing webisodes. Just how long has RITE HERE RITE NOW been in the works?

Tobias Forge: “Initially, there was a concept of the band that was supposed to be theatrical, anonymous and I originally said we were not going to do interviews. Back when I said that the first time, we were on a UK indie label who aren’t exactly known for wanting to push any band into mainstream success. That’s not an insult in any way; they’re an indie label and they wanted to stay in that lane. Even they thought it was a step too far from making any noise and I was like ‘OK, I need to do interviews then.’

“Then when meeting [Loma Vista founder and former Warner Bros. CEO and chairman] Tom Whalley with the idea of making Ghost big and commercially accessible to some degree, there was very much a divergence from what he knew: you have to tell a story, you have to communicate, you have to be more savvy, you have to be more omnipresent in the social media field. I didn’t want that at all, and I hated the way that bands were presenting themselves on social media.

“So I had to cave into the idea. And that’s where the character of Sister Imperator came in. Over the years I’ve excavated her life and what she is, what she represents and I think that this film is one little chapter of her story. But that story is greater, and longer, and goes far longer back than what we’ve exposed thus far.”

Alex, what was it like working with Tobias on the film? 

Alex Ross Perry: “I don’t think someone who hasn’t worked with Tobias would be well suited for something of this size. But that’s because the process is listening to him explain, in extreme detail ‘This is what I’m seeing’ and then seeing how much of that we can do. I was very well-versed in that from the ‘Jesus He Knows Me’ video.

“It’s very complicated because you’re translating ideas that do not adhere to turning low-ish to medium movie budget productions into something that is realistic. But the rarest thing of all is working with someone who knows exactly what they want. Someone who knows exactly what they want and is hugely ambitious with more ideas than you could ever possibly accomplish is a very rare thing and it’s very nice to work with someone like him.”

There’s a live performance of a major hit in this film that isn’t shown on screen; instead, we get an animated video. Talk us through that decision…

Perry: “There was always meant to be a music video for this song, but it never came together, and Tobias was never able to tell the story that he wanted to. The band released a professionally shot live video for this song a while ago, and so Tobias said in the movie, it can’t just be that.

“The animated video is the result of that. And everything that he wanted would’ve made a $200,000 music video that would end up being a four-minute segment in a movie. So I said we could get everything he wanted in the video if it’s an animated sequence. Every shot, every location. And there had never been a Ghost animation prior, so it checked all the boxes.”

Director Alex Ross Perry and Ghost’s Tobias Forge. Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images

Tobias, a couple of big things happen in the film that set up the next phase of the band. With the movie not being available in several regions, how are you hoping to bridge that gap for fans unable to watch the movie before the next era of Ghost kicks in?

Forge: “That’s a question that I’ve been throwing around on my end because we have fans all over the world. The film world, for me, has been completely unknown and now I know that the sort of film we’ve made is being distributed in areas of the world where they have certain grounds for that, which to my dismay has resulted in certain parts of the world being completely blocked out.

“This is not a promise, but we’re doing what we can. at the end of the day, depending on how well it performs in the rest of the world, minds might be changed. And if it doesn’t turn out to be a cinematic release, we might solve it with streaming later. Just because it doesn’t happen tomorrow or this week, it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen ever.”

The story of Ghost has become a major driving point in the band’s success, to the point where fans have become dedicated to the narrative. Why do you think the fans have connected with the lore of the band so much?

Perry: “This is something I’ve realised about this film in its finished form. Ghost as a band is like a planet and the story is like the moon. The moon is not part of the planet, but it orbits the planet. The songs and the meanings are thematically connected to what Ghost are pursuing, but they’re not creating a rock opera about these family dynamics of mothers, sons and fathers. I think for fans, it’s like getting two meals instead of one.”

Forge: “I think the family that we’re talking about, they’re just the manifestation of a very common occurrence within mankind’s struggle to live life. The idea of being fearful of death is very common.”

The film’s credits are soundtracked by a new song ‘The Future Is a Foreign Land’, which carries a very timely and somber message. Can you elaborate more on the meaning of the track? 

Forge: “That song is written as a love letter from former band leader Papa Nihil to Sister Imperator in 1969 – that’s how it connects into the lore. The message is that there’s a great lesson lost if you look at what is going on in the world now and what took us here.

“The ending credit is a montage of atrocities happening from 1969 to modern day. Depending on your viewpoint, you might say it’s tasteless and horrific. Yeah, it’s really horrific, but it’s there to remind you that if you’re lucky enough to experience this film in the cinema, you’re pretty well off. You’re one of the lucky ones and you should enjoy life, embrace it and do everything in your power to make life better for you and everyone you know.

“But remember the cost that it took for mankind in the past 55 years to get here and the sort of shit that we put each other through fighting for what we believe is a better world. It’s meant to make you feel thankful somehow that we can laugh at certain things and be at a fictional rock concert in this world.”

RITE HERE RITE NOW hits cinemas worldwide on June 20, 21, 22 and 23. Get any remaining tickets here

The post Ghost tell us about new film ‘RITE HERE RITE NOW’: “The story goes far longer back than what we’ve exposed” appeared first on NME.

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