Cinema Blend writer Katey Rich ’06 recently interviewed director Jon Turteltaub ’85 about his latest film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which stars actor Nicholas Cage, who has worked with the director on several other projects. The movie—which opened nationwide last weekend—deals with Balthazar Blake, a master sorcerer (Cage) in modern-day Manhattan who has to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar needs help, so he recruits a reluctant protege (Jay Baruchel).
Both Rich and Turteltaub were Wesleyan film majors. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Katey Rich: What’s the working relationship like between you and Nic Cage after making the two National Treasure movies together?
Jon Turteltaub: Nic and I had gone to high school together, and that’s a gazillion years ago. Immediately after high school I went to Wesleyan and became an angsty college student, and he went to star in motion pictures and be on the cover of GQ. Lives definitely went separate directions, and we basically lost touch. We would run into each other at restaurants or something on occasion but never really saw each other until we had a meeting about National Treasure, in 2003 I think.
KR: So you make these two movies together and come into Sorcerer, which it seems like he was even more involved in. What was different about this film?
JT: It doesn’t alter the power dynamic in any way. Once Jerry is on board to produce, it becomes Jerry’s production. And once I’m on board to direct it becomes my, sort of, creative universe to run. The sense of responsibility to Nic was very large. I wanted to be sure that I was delivering what his expectations and hopes were. It’s not like he was a hands-on guy, counting the pennies in the budget and looking over our shoulders or anything, but there was much more of a sense on this film than on National Treasure that I had to do right by him.
KR: It’s fun watching him develop the sorcerer character as the movie goes on. It seems like it would be interesting to watch that process happen too.
JT: And he was really good at driving that personally, understanding that. Even that joke where [Jay Baruchel] says “Are you insane?” and he puts his fingers up [in a “little bit” sign]– Nic added that. Nic is very aware of the perception out there of Crazy Nic Cage. I really deeply believe this is one of the most perfect blends of actor and character I’ve ever seen.