The super-producer discusses his latest big budget summer blockbuster film based on the classic video game
Legendary film producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney studios have combined their resources to make some of the most popular blockbuster family adventure films of the last ten years including last summer's G-Force, the extremely popular National Treasure franchise and Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl and it's sequels. Now the studio and producer dream team are back with a brand new summer event film perfect for the whole family, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, opening in theaters on May 28th. The film is an adaptation of the fan-favorite video game and follows Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan who is adopted by the king and raised as one of his own. When a close confidant betrays the King, Dastan must go on a quest to bring the King's betrayers to justice and protect a magical dagger, which has the power to reverse time. We recently had an opportunity to speak with Jerry Bruckheimer about the new film, it's visual effects, choosing director Mike Newell for the project and the challenges of adapting a beloved video game into a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Here is what he had to say:
To start with, how do you begin to take a beloved video game and adapt it into a full-length feature film?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well it all comes from story and character. Jordan Mechner, who created the game came in and pitched a story that we were intrigued with. He wrote the first screenplay and then we brought in some of our big Hollywood writers to embellish the characters and the plot. So you start from the basic idea of the game. I think what you have to do is you have to try to take what's best out of the game or the book and try to work with that.
How was producing this film different from any of the other large-scale spectacle movies that you've made before? You've done so many are there any surprises left for you?
Jerry Bruckheimer: There are always surprises. You know every time you take on a big movie you find things that are fun to learn. In Morocco, in the summer it's not a place you'd like to be. It's a hundred and twenty degrees and it was not fun to be there in June and July. But it's a beautiful country and they have the ability to go up in the mountains, in the Andes Mountains and then go in these beautiful deserts. It was a real thrill for us.
Can you talk about choosing Mike Newell to direct this film, it is so large in scope and such a big undertaking, what was it about Newell that assured you he was the man for the job?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well when you look at his previous work, you know, when you hire a director and they're not a first time director you get to see their films. So from Donnie Brasco he showed he can do realism. We wanted the movie to have some realism to it. Then you saw Four Weddings and a Funeral and he had humor. You can tell he can handle actors and find funny things for them. Then when you see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, you can see he could understand fantasy. So the combination of humor, fantasy and realism is exactly what we were looking for.
You've worked on a lot of VFX heavy movies, how has "The Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time" raised the bar in terms of your filmmaking?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well I think every time we approach a movie the computer graphics and power becomes stronger and doubles and triples. So we can do a lot more things that we couldn't do in the past. It's easier to do and fortunately gets a little cheaper. So you know, there are more artists that are joining that field and we're getting better computer graphics because more talented people are doing it.
There are so many great effects in the film but if you had to choose one that you were especially proud of which would it be?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I think you know the dagger is really spectacular and our visual effects were beautiful. We had some of our artists working on that to create something that was unique and special. I think that's kind of one of the most interesting things you can see in the movie.
How difficult was the "Dagger Of Time" sand effect to pull off and was there a lot of debate about where to use it and how often?
Jerry Bruckheimer: You're absolutely right; there was a lot of debate. You know, how many times do you use it? How do you do it? It took us months and months and months to come up with the right dynamics for it and the right design. We went through a lot of different designs, a lot of different visual artists and illustrators worked on it. So we finally got something we're very comfortable with that Mike really loved.
Looking back in retrospect, do you wish you could have added it to more scenes?
Jerry Bruckheimer: You know I'm always looking to add to scenes in a movie, so that's the fun part. That's something we always love to do but you don't want to have an audience sit in a theatre too long.
Finally, are there any cool scenes that didn't make the film that fans can look forward to on the DVD?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Always. You know there's actually a scene that we didn't use as you'll see. Mike was very economical in his shooting so there weren't that many scenes to see but we always add things that are fun and interesting for you guys to look at.