First, 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' based on the classic video game series, opens later this month on Friday, May 28. Then on Friday, July 16, Bruckheimer will unveil Nicolas Cage in 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' as a centuries-old wizard who attempts to train his titular apprentice (comedian Jay Baruchel) in the ways of magic, and, at the same time, to vanquish his ancient rival (Alfred Molina) before he wreaks destruction on New York City.
In a special press conference, Bruckheimer revealed new scenes that prove 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' will be a special-effects extravaganza, as the magic-filled battle moves from bookstores to bathrooms -- space in NYC is a premium, after all. Bruckheimer took time to answer reporters' questions on 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' and 'Prince of Persia,' and even revealed some new information on the upcoming 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'. If it's summer, then it's time for a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Trying to list all the blockbusters he has developed is a daunting task: the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series, the 'National Treasure' series, 'Armageddon,' 'Beverly Hills Cop,' and more -- seriously, a lot more. Bruckheimer is working as hard as ever on his latest projects, a one-two punch of action-adventure films for Disney.
First, 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,' based on the classic video game series, opens May 28. Then on July 16, Bruckheimer will unveil Nicolas Cage in 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' as a centuries-old wizard who attempts to train his titular apprentice (comedian Jay Baruchel) in the ways of magic, and, at the same time, to vanquish his ancient rival (Alfred Molina) before he wreaks destruction on New York City.
In a special press conference, Bruckheimer revealed new scenes that prove 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' will be a special-effects extravaganza, as the magic-filled battle moves from bookstores to bathrooms -- space in NYC is a premium, after all. Bruckheimer took time to answer reporters' questions on 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' and 'Prince of Persia,' and even revealed some new information on the upcoming 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'.
How do you know what will appeal to Nicolas Cage? He's done so many different things.
Well, he came to me with this. Todd Garner, who's an executive at Disney, thought up this idea, and Nic came to us. They had a script, and we worked with them. He was already committed, which is a lot easier than chasing him.
How much of Nicolas Cage's performance comes from him and how much of that came from [director] Jon Turtletaub?
A combination. This is their third collaboration, they don't have to talk, they know what they're going to do. Nic showed what he was going to do in rehearsals, and John embellished it. They enjoy each others' company a lot. And John's a funny guy ... he's the greatest with the jokes and one-liners.
Is 'Harry Potter' good, bad or irrelevant to what you're doing?
I think it's good because it's magic, and people enjoy it. It's contemporary. It's New York today.
If it does well, do you want keep any 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' sequels in New York, make it its own kind of "New York movie"?
I hope so. Depends on a lot of things. We were very fortunate because we got some tax benefits; if they go away, they'll chase me out of here. [Laughs]
Alfred Molina played one of the best bad guys in New York, as Doc Ock in 'Spider-Man 2.' How is he going to top that in this?
He's got a sense of humor, he's got a wink in his eye, always. He's just a wonderful actor. We used him in 'Prince of Persia' as a sort of rogue sheik. I love working with him, he's just a wonderful spirit on set. He doesn't go to his trailer, he likes to hang out. We like to have a little touring company that we keep using over and over again because they're so much fun to work with, they're so good at what they do.
Jay Baruchel seems to be the young actor of the moment. How did he come into the picture?
I used Jay in a series quite a few years ago for the WB, and I loved him. So when this part came up, he was one of the first people we talked to.
This movie's loosely based on the 'Fantasia' sequence, and obviously 'Pirates of the Caribbean' is based on the theme park ride. Is that something you want to continue doing, finding these unorthodox source materials for movies?
Everybody thought I was nuts for doing 'Pirates'; you couldn't turn a theme park ride into a movie. But if you have a terrific idea and wonderful writers, you can do just about anything ... I think Disney's certainly keen on doing these kinds of movies.
'Prince of Persia' was based on a video game. Video game movies have always been a tricky thing; is that something you were aware of, and did you try a different approach?
What you try to do is get the essence of the game. We hired Jordan Mechner, who created the game, to write the first screenplay. So he got what he thought was important from the game into the screenplay. Then we brought on a number of other writers to really embellish the characters and strengthen the plot. I think we have a real strong "movie" movie; it doesn't have to be a video game. I think it's a really good romantic-adventure, like 'Romancing the Stone'; it's a throwback to the old movies, it's a fun romp.
Did you ever think of releasing 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' or 'Prince of Persia' in 3-D?
Disney didn't, but I did. It's expensive, and 'Avatar' hadn't come out, so they didn't know the appeal and what could happen with 3-D. Disney certainly changed their tune with 'Alice and Wonderland,' so things change pretty quickly. It's an expensive nut and we had no idea how good the conversion could be at the time. Most of the stuff you saw in 3-D prior to ['Avatar'] was animation.
Do you think that 'Avatar' has fundamentally changed Hollywood in terms of 3-D? Do you think all blockbusters will be 3-D in the future?
I think it depends on the movie itself, but I think you'll see a lot more of it. The technology keeps getting better and better, so I think we'll see a lot more movies being shot. There are new cameras coming out -- 'Avatar' was shot quite a while ago with different cameras -- so the technology gets better as the camera gets lighter ... That conversion process will get better and there's ways of shooting where you shoot partial 3-D and partial conversion, or you can shoot it all 3-D like 'Avatar.' But 'Avatar' was done on a stage, the majority of it was done indoors. Can you take those cameras outdoors, and what kind of problems do you have with rigs? You'll need a whole separate crew that's watching it in 3-D while you're watching in 2-D, so I don't think a big movie's exterior has been done in 3-D. We might be doing it right now as we've been talking.
Do you plan on shooting any feature films you're involved with in 3-D?
We're discussing 'Pirates' right now; we're not sure if we're going to do it, but we're discussing it.
Disney's cut you back a bit on the budget for 'Pirates.' How much does that change what you had in mind for that movie?
We all want to make pictures for less. I've never made a picture that the studio didn't say they wanted for less. That goes on all the time. Whenever we come up with a budget, they always want to cut it way back, so that's normal, that's just the practice of Hollywood. I've never turned in a budget the studio was happy with, so you go back, they tell you what they want you to spend and you try to get down to that number.
Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp: Are their processes anything alike?
It's interesting because Johnny slept on Nic's couch when he first came to Hollywood, they're old friends, and I think Nic set him up with his first agent. So process-wise, there are similarities. They base characters on people they knew or books they've read about certain characters. They're both very creative about how they create their characters. Johnny and Nic come from the same kind of school.
Since Johnny and Nic are old friends, and screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio have worked on both, any possibility of a 'Pirates'/'National Treasure' crossover?
Elliot and Rossio worked a little bit on 'National Treasure,' but two other screenwriters worked on it. Elliot and Rossio are working on 'Pirates 4.' They're all friends, but no crossover. It would be nice if there was.
The buzz right now is "remakes." Have you ever thought about digging back into the Bruckheimer catalog for a remake of 'Top Gun' or something like that?
I've gotten called by Paramount, talking about it, you just have to find a way in, it's hard sometimes ... If it's a great we'll do it; it comes out of the idea.
If you could remake any classic film, what would it be?
I wouldn't want to remake a classic because they're the greatest. John Houston said, "Don't ask me to remake one of my classics; I like to remake ones that didn't work because I think I could a lot better job."