Based on the Fantasia sequence of the same name, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice swept us up in the magic at WonderCon this weekend. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by National Treasure‘s Jon Turteltaub, the film is one of three big summer blockbusters from Walt Disney Pictures.
Starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel, this is a true Bruckheimer creation. Cage plays the ancient Balthazar Stone, a sorcerer who has searched hundreds of years for his successor, the Prime Merlinean, played by Jay Baruchel. Alfred Molina co-stars as Stone’s arch nemesis, the evil sorcerer and leader of the Morganians.
The panel comprised of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Jon Turteltaub, Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, and Teresa Palmer, the Aussie belle from Bedtime Stories who plays Baruchel’s love interest. After discussing the film and screening a couple of exclusive clips, they fielded questions from the audience.
Before the panel, I met with Jay Baruchel for a quick chat about the film.
You’ve done some big films before, but nothing on the scale of a Disney summer blockbuster. What is it like?
- It’s a dream come true. This is the type of film I’ve wanted to do for my entire life. I grew up watching Fantasia and I think even had the Disney bedspread, so I woke up staring at Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice every day. When I was a kid I loved playing superhero and shooting plasma out of my hands. It was fun to recreate this iconic sequence in the shoes of Mickey Mouse in modern Manhattan while fighting bad guys. It was long, hard work, with so many visual effects. But it was a lot of fun.
What was it like working with Nic Cage and Alfred Molina?
- In a word: Unbelievable. Nicolas Cage is one of the great actors of our time. He gives so much, it was a lot of fun getting to work with him. Alfred was great, too. I have a lot in common with both of them.
Did they give you any sage advice?
- Not exactly. We did talk a lot. The closest thing was with Alfred, since he played Doctor Octopus, it was mostly, “How can you wear a harness like this all day?” He’s great to talk to. But yeah, mostly harness talk.
Tell us a bit about your character in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
- His name is Dave, and he’s into magic, although of course by magic we mean physics. He’s the star physics student – if there is such a thing – and is working on his senior thesis and chasing (well, mostly pining after), Theresa’s character. We experience and learn with Dave, get the story through him. Learning magic lends itself well to comedic moments, and that’s what I do. When someone hires me they know that it’s part and parcel of what I do – I love ad-libbing, doing pratfalls, that sort of thing.
Did you go back and study physical comedy, or is that something you’ve always done?
- Yeah, I do. My absolute idol is Rowan Atkinson.
What about the silent clowns?
- Of course! Buster Keaton is the man. The General is one of the greatest films ever. Have you seen the short with the one-roomed house?
- [He laughs] Yes, that’s the one. Amazing.
You play a mixture of nice guy roles and the odd bad boy (e.g. Nick & Norah) – which do you like to play most?
- It depends. The kinds of roles I’m offered are very different in Canada than they are down here. I love to pick characters that scare me – I find that the most exciting. I think I can do the most with those.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is released in the USA on 16th July. It opens in the UK on 13th August.