"Tobias Forge is a nerd." Rite Here Rite Now director Alex Ross Perry opens up on helping to bring Ghost's first movie to life

The Rite Here Rite Now poster and director Alex Ross Perry
(Image credit: Ghost / Alex Ross Perry)

Pennsylvania-born filmmaker Alex Ross Perry has a CV that includes helming music videos for the likes of Kim Gordon, Pavement, Sleigh Bells and Bully; writing, producing and directing acclaimed grunge/punk movie Her Smell; and creating Ghost’s brilliant 2022 mockumentary, Metal Myths. However, he explains, working with Tobias Forge on Ghost's 2024 concert movie spectacular Rite Here Rite Now was an experience like no other.

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How did you and Tobias first come into one another's orbit?

“I first saw Ghost opening up for Iron Maiden in New York, at the Barclays Center, seven years ago, and then I went on YouTube and had a lot of fun diving into their music videos. I’d done work for [Ghost’s US record label] Loma Vista, and so I said to them, ‘Nothing I’ve done is in the world of this band, but I’m a big fan, so if you ever need anything in the world of Ghost, my hand is raised.’ And a couple of months later, I was asked if I wanted to create an official/unofficial Ghost mockumentary, streamlining the narrative woven into the band’s story, and that became Metal Myths, which launched on April Fool’s Day 2022.”

How was that received?

“I know that Tobias really liked what we did with that, and thought it was an amazing testament to his work and creativity. So then I was asked to curate an event at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles to celebrate Ghost’s Grammy nomination [for Best Metal Performance, for Call Me Little Sunshine], and we had some fun working on the Mary On A Cross 1969 era. While I was out in LA, we did the Jesus He Knows Me music video too, and I was told, ‘We’re doing a movie’, so I said, ‘Well, if you need any help, I’m here.’”

What did you make of Tobias when you first spoke to him?

"I was, and am, a huge admirer of everything that he’s built, so I was in awe of his creativity and the scope of his vision, and I remain so having now collaborated with him on this movie. He’s one of the greats, in terms of the vision he has. He’s a nerd, a repository for information and references to music history and film history, and that is incredibly rare. His vision has taken him so far in 10 years, and in 10 years’ time it’ll have taken him even further. My favourite band is Kiss, and Tobias might say the same, but they stumbled when they tried to branch out with [1978 TV film] Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park, whereas Tobias built a visual narrative into the Ghost solar system from the beginning. Working with him was constantly inspiring.”

What was the most challenging part of the whole process for you?

“It was just logistically very complex. It was challenging being at the Forum, shooting scenes that we were going to connect with scenes that we would be filming five months later.”

How much creative input did you get to have, and how much were you able to bring your own vision to what was already mapped out?

“I consider it a real collaboration between the two of us. His vision for the storytelling is crystal clear, but even though the A to Z is mapped out, there’s so much room to discuss what happens from B to Y. You could just talk all night about that, and we did many times, like, ‘Does this happen?’, ‘Is this joke funny?’, ‘Should this scene have no dialogue?’ I took ideas that were not possible and turned them into ideas that are possible. We sat on his tourbus one month before the Forum and just talked until 4 or 5am about every story beat, every scene, every moment between the characters. It was such an amazing experience from start to finish.”

Read more on Rite Here Rite Now in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, out now

Metal Hammer issue 389

(Image credit: Future (Cover shot: Travis Shinn))
Ghost: Rite Here Rite Now - Official Trailer (2024) Tobias Forge - YouTube Ghost: Rite Here Rite Now - Official Trailer (2024) Tobias Forge - YouTube
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Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.