Nicolas Cage

Oh, the perks of having an office in New York City! Disney's 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' was filmed in Manhattan and Moviefone got to visit the set -- and talk to its stars -- even Nicolas Cage!

Cage has had great success recently as the star of the 'National Treasure' adventure franchise, but he told AOL that though the films have similar vibes, 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' is more about "magic and fantasy" than history. It centers on Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan who has to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). He recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant apprentice. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. Nicolas Cage

Oh, the perks of having an office in New York City! Disney's 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' was filmed in Manhattan and Moviefone got to visit the set -- and talk to its stars -- even Nicolas Cage!

Cage has had great success recently as the star of the 'National Treasure' adventure franchise, but he told AOL that though the films have similar vibes, 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' is more about "magic and fantasy" than history. It centers on Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan who has to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). He recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant apprentice. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness.

"Its almost like magic is real, and that everything we know about science is really an extension of quantified magic, like Tesla and Edison were sorcerers. Its pretty interesting," Cage said. "... We're shooting a lot of plates with practical effects, practical fire, and real lighting effects, so when we put visual effects in later, things will look real because there's a lot of real components."

The scene AOL watched involved a lot of CGI effects to be added later, so it wasn't easy determining exactly what was going on, but it was great to see what came together as the film's big finale.

Cage -- or his stuntman -- began the scene by jumping over a low fence surrounding the perimeter. After a few shots of that, he was peering out of a hole in the ground not too far away, which was surrounded in green screen material.
Alfred Molina's character throws a baton into the air, which turns into a mirror. Then, Cage's sorcerer jumps through the mirror, which transports him to a hole in the ground not too far away.

NYCShooting in New York City


Producer Jerry Bruckheimer called shooting in New York City "fantastic" because its "such a great city, got so much color." Director John Turteltaub said 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' is the biggest film he's shot in the city. "It's not that it's not difficult, definitely difficult. But nothing's not do-able. It's like living in New York City, everything is possible and nothing is easy," Turteltaub said. "It's no more difficult or easy for a Jerry Bruckheimer movie or a small independent film. New York invites people here. We're invited. So you just got to go through, what you go through. But when you have 22 big-rig trucks, put it this way, it's hard to (find a place to) park a Vespa, we're trying to find a way to park 22 big-rig trucks."

Balancing Humor With Family Friendly

'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' teeters on the line between family friendly and action movie. "We want kids to enjoy the movie, but we want adults to enjoy this also," Turteltaub said. The film's titular character, played by comedic actor Jay Baruchel, struggled with keeping his improvisation PG. "Much to the chagrin of anyone who hires me, I'll ad-lib like it's going out of style," Baruchel said. "They've been incredibly kind to me about that. They let me do the Disney version of whatever my thing is here. Nic's the same way, Nic likes to riff a lot. His riffs are completely different, he'll just yell stuff or say random words. Its fun, we like to keep things interesting. They let me ad-lib, but every once in awhile, they'd yell 'Cut.' 'We can't say that! You can't do that in this movie!'"

Nic CageOn Hanging With Nicolas Cage

Cage and director Turteltaub had worked together before on the 'National Treasure' series. "Oddly, Nic is the one who approached me and hired me for this movie. ... so in some ways, he's my boss on this movie," Turteltaub said. "It wasn't an issue if Nic was right for the part ... I only saw Nic in it ... when I read the script, it was Nic. I actually think it's one of the best fits in Nic's career ... it fits so well with Nic's performance style, his acting style, it gives him a chance to play such a huge range. And its Nic-like in that regard, it's unpredictable, a little off-the-wall, also a little bit Zen and spiritual and very romantic. That's Nic."

Co-star Baruchel also got along really well with Cage on the set. "He's smart as hell, I think he's really talented, he's incredibly kind, he's funny," Baruchel said. "I assume we have no choice but to get along, given how much of the movie is just him and me in a car or a room or something, for weeks on end. But I love him, I get such a kick out of him. He has such an iconic, distinct way of speaking, such a unique cadence that I grew up hearing in movies. And so to be in conversations with that unique way of speaking is a trip and a half. It's a 'pinch-me moment.' I'm pleased as punch."

Behind the Scenes on 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'

Addressing Some Crazy Voodoo Rumors

Cage did want to clear up one crazy on-set rumor started by the National Enquirer. "I do want to make it clear though ... you may have seen a rumor around on the Internet and different magazines ... (but) I did not hire a voodoo priestess to break a hex on the movie," Cage said. "That was 100 percent false and I don't know why tabloids don't call up and ask before they print their gobbledygook."

But Baruchel made sure AOL knew the truth. "Oh yes, I hired a Santeria practitioner who lives in my bathroom," Baruchel said. "No, nothing like that, its all quite boring."

Jay BaruchelJay Baruchel as a Leading Man

Teresa Palmer, who plays Baruchel's love interest in the film, told AOL about her favorite scene with the actor. "I think it was probably that iconic sequence from 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' with the brooms that come to life and they're chasing Jay Baruchel and he's so funny, hilarious ... he's trying to hide and the brooms are hitting him, and we're about to go on a date, and its just disastrous," Palmer said. "He's just brilliant in this film. I think this is going to blow him up."

Director Turteltaub said Baruchel fit the mold he wanted for the character. "Jay has that extraordinary sense of humor, his comic timing is brilliant, he's no Fred Molina -- let's not get crazy -- but then again, he doesn't have a goatee. [laughs] (He has an) amazing sense of humor, amazing comic timing," Turteltaub said. "Jay is sort of a bizarre cross between Lenny Bruce and Jerry Lewis, he's very politically minded and brilliant, but amazing with physical comedy, and loves a laugh. It's true, a comedian's ad-libs cannot always be appropriate for family viewing, but that's why God invented editors."

Special Effects

Some of the special effects seemed daunting to director Turteltaub. "For some of the effects, I thought to myself, 'I have no idea how this is done,' even though I know other people have done them in movies, so I'm scared. Other parts I thought 'I have no idea how this is done, but I know it can be done, so whatever.' And other parts I thought, 'I just know this is too expensive and I don't have time for it, so let's find a simpler, easier, cheaper way,' Turteltaub said. "... We go through the effects the same way, we go 'Cool: Chrysler Eagle; but uncool: 500 shots of the eagle flying around New York'. ... No question, cool effects are cool. You see 'Transformers' and it's such a fantastic spectacle, so it's cool. In a weird way, I feel like I'm not good enough at doing that to rely on that, so I better get the characters and the drama right and make sure the effects don't 'f' that up."

FantasiaThe Original 'Fantasia' Cartoon

'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' is based on the segment in the famous Disney masterpiece 'Fantasia' in which Mickey Mouse battles an ever multiplying army of enchanted mops. "We do that sequence, we do our modern day, big-budget, Bruckheimer version of that sequence," Baruchel said. "That's as happy as I've been during the shoot because that's going to be absolutely incredible. Whatever words I would use would be a disservice to it, but I was really psyched and it wasn't lost on me that I was involved in film history as we were doing it. It was a huge, huge deal. So that was really cool."

Turteltaub said he was a big fan of the original sequence in 'Fantasia.' "The thought of being handed an important piece of Disney pedigree is daunting. ... Do we just do a wink towards the original, or is that not really fulfilling the assignment? And we thought, you know what, this is the 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' let's tell that story in a live-action movie," Turteltaub said. "So far, from what we've shot and the effects that we're doing, I think it's kind of awesome."