Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
On June 23rd 2010, I had an appointment to chat with Jon Turteltaub, director of the National Treasure films and Disney’s upcoming Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
I woke up early that morning, and headed down to the Apple Store at The Grove to pick up the new iPhone 4, which I had reserved. The plan was to crib for the interview while I was waiting a few hours in line to get the new phone. I had waited in line for the previous three iPhone launches at one of Apple’s flagship stores in the downtown San Francisco, I expected this to be quick and painless (or at least quicker and less painful than it ended up being). The few hours I had expected to wait in line quickly turned into multiples of that. And by the time my scheduled interview time approached, I found myself near the front of the line. I waited all day, and regretfully, I had to choose between calling it a total loss of my 10 hours and rush to the interview, or cancel the chat and get the iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, if I had known at the beginning of the day that I’d have to choose, I would have never gotten in line (actually, if I had known I was going to wait 11 hours in line, I would have never gotten in line…). I called Disney to see what I should do, and they told me I could probably reschedule the interview to another day and time, which was a big relief.
Thanks to the wonderful Disney publicists, I was able to get time with Jon on the phone the next week. By the time I talked with Jon, he had already done a week full of press, international, domestic and television. I decided the best approach was to ask him some questions, for the most part, out of the norm. The bad situation turned into to be the best possible result — I got to talk to Jon for over 30 minutes. For those of you who don’t know, a normal 1:1 interview lasts 10-15 minutes, resulting in a very fast pace as the interviewer is usually trying to cram all their questions in. The interview you are about to read after the jump has a much different pace (which is probably why Turteltaub allowed me to go over the scheduled fifteen minute time limit.
We talk about how Jon launched his career with Three Ninjas, Being pigeonholed as a kid movie director, How Phenomenon was originally supposed to star Harrison Ford and Holly Hunter, Becoming the “surprisingly good” director, Being a populist movie director who gets not-so-good reviews from critics/film snobs, the disappointments of National Treasure 2, the possibility of a Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequel, How he became involved in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Going to High School with Nicolas Cage and beating him out for the lead role in the school play, what it is like being a part of a “Jerry Bruckheimer production”, weaving science with magic, the choice to not film the movie in 3D, the choice not to post convert it to 3D, Balthazar’s Warehouse of Magical Artifacts, The Easter Eggs hidden in the movie, Where did the artifacts disappear to and the possibilities for a sequel, shooting the movie on location in New York City and shutting down traffic in Times Square for five nights, the troubles of trying to shoot a movie with “any kind of depth or any social relevance” (referring to the Greenpeace biopic he’s developing), Avatar, and more.
Read the full interview, after the jump.