"Nicolas Cage will be returning as Ben Gates soon in the third installment of Disney's hit franchise National Treasure and the very affable director of the series, Jon Turteltaub, stopped to talk to ComingSoon.net at the Hollywood premiere of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time about the upcoming film, why he's such a fan of Nic's and why he's not worried about a potential shooting schedule conflict with Ghost Rider 2.
ComingSoon.net: 'You've worked with Nicolas Cage a few times now. What is it about him that you enjoy working with?'
Jon Turteltaub: 'He's a gentleman. He is one of the most professional actors but especially compared to what we think the wild Nic Cage is like. This is a guy who works really hard and has none of that movie star nonsense. All those bad stories you've heard about movie actors - none of those are true with Nic Cage. You also get someone who never bores you. Every time you're watching him do a scene you're going to get something unexpected. For a director, that's what you want because if they're only doing what you ask them to do - you have to be good as a director. He can fill in anything you're missing and do something special and that's what directors need.'
CS: 'Up until this point, he's been known for being an actor who doesn't do sequels. National Treasure: Book of Secrets is the first one he's ever done. Did that surprise you?'
Turteltaub: 'I wasn't surprised he did National Treasure. I was surprised he'd never done a sequel before. That was the surprise especially with The Rock. That's a movie that can make a phenomenal sequel. I think it's kind of a testament to Nic's variety that he'd never really done a sequel. His films are never kind of so that you can just knock out a sequel - there's something always complicated there. So I guess we made a simple enough movie. National Treasure was designed to be that kind of movie... a treasure hunt where you can go on several treasure hunts. It's really a tribute to Nic and how he created that character. People go see sequels to see characters and not stories, they've seen the story.'
CS: 'When does National Treasure 3 start shooting?'
Turteltaub: 'I think we start shooting late fall, early winter. Hopefully that's the goal and I think it will come out Christmas 2011. That's assuming everyone is available, the script is good and I haven't thrown a tantrum.'
CS: 'I know Nic has to start shooting the next Ghost Rider soon so will that conflict with your movie?'
Turteltaub: 'I doubt it. Usually scheduling conflicts come up if you're trying to land an actor and the actor has to choose between two movies. We won't make National Treasure without Nic and they won't make Ghost Rider without Nic so everyone will find a way to make both movies. It's not like Nic is going to go, 'I'll make Ghost Rider instead.' He'll make both. Also an actor's schedule is three to four months. Whereas a movies takes a year and a half. So it won't be an issue.'
CS: 'Where would you like to see National Treasure 3 go?'
Turteltaub: 'Where Avatar went. $700 million dollars. I want to see 3D and space. There could be treasure on Pandora. It's possible that somewhere hiding in that tree that fell down was Thomas Jefferson's earrings or something. I don't know. That would be the worst movie ever. Horrible!'
Jon Turteltaub's new film with Cage, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, opens in theaters on July 16."
Well, let's hope he can do both, because I know nobody wants to see a Disney-fied Ghost Rider.
"In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Nicolas Cage’s character Ben Gates goes after the President of the United States’ book of secrets, an unofficial book which contains the answers for the biggest coverups in American history. In addition to his mission to restore his family’s name, Gates is advised by the President of the United States to 'read Page 47'. And of course, the information which is contained on Page 47 is never revealed, which many suspected might be a possible third film. Others wrote it off as nothing more than a throwaway gag.
But even if it was just a throwaway gag, we all know that can become something of franchise canon. For instance, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale never intended for a sequel for Back to the Future, and the ending of the film where Doc Brown returns from the future with a flying DeLorean was just intended to be a funny gag to end the movie on. In fact, they didn’t decide to do a sequel until after the film became a big success, at which time they added the 'To be continued…' caption to the conclusion of the film (it was never included in the theatrical print). The writers later stated that the ending gag in the first film painted them in a corner for the sequel. So is Page 47 just a throwaway gag or will it be the starting point of National Treasure 3?
Collider talked with screenwriters Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard who said the following:
'We were asked to start there [when writing the third film], so that is where we’ll start. The plan is to start from what’s on Page 47. The idea of the Book of Secrets is spectacular. It’s a great idea. The second movie sort of introduced it and used it as the center of the movie, so it is smart to make the third movie ‘okay, what treasure hunt will come out of the book of secrets’, which is kind of what the end of the movie started.'
The screenwriting team has been working on the screenplay for the third film since June 2009. We’ve heard in numerous interviews with Cage and director Jon Turteltaub that they wanted the plot to take place in Europe. What might be on page 47 that brings them there? Cage has said, whatever it is — it must be 'life altering'."