Interview with Jay Baruchel of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – J!-ENT Interviews and Articles
November 29, 2010 by J!-ENT
With the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Nov. 30th, J!-ENT will be featuring interviews with cast members, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub. In our third featured interview, we feature Jay Baruchel (“Tropic Thunder”, “Knocked Up”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Nick and Norah’s Infinity Playlist) who plays the sorcerer’s apprentice Dave.
Here is a short Q&A interview with Jay Baruchel:
How does it feel to be involved with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
It’s a great honor to be part of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but it’s also very stressful because Fantasia is cherished and beloved by so many people around the world. The sorcerer’s apprentice sequence of Fantasia is one of the most iconic and important sequences in film history, so I didn’t want to screw this up. If you were going to create a retrospective of great film moments, I think the Fantasia sequence would be up there alongside Cary Grant being chased by the crop duster in North By Northwest. It has been exhilarating to get the chance to do something so important to so many people, but there’s a lot of weight on our shoulders and I didn’t want to get it wrong.
How do you deal with the stress of working on such an iconic project?
There are two possible outcomes. You can either let the stress get the best of you and wilt in the face of adversity, or you can let the stress push you to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. The only other time in my career where I felt a similar weight on my shoulders was when I got to work for Clint Eastwood. It was tough. There’s a great sports analogy that comes to mind when I think about this. If you get drafted into the NHL and you get to play on the same line with the guys that made you want to start playing hockey in the first place, are you going to mess up under the pressure? Or are you going to show everyone the reason why you are standing there next to these amazing athletes? I had to bring my A-game to this project. I wanted to prove to everyone that they made the right decision in hiring me.
What was your highlight to the filming of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
Shooting plasma bolts out of my hands has been a lifelong ambition of mine. Ever since I played Street Fighter II when I was a kid, I’ve been waiting to shoot energy out of my hands. For years, nothing happened. My hands finally get to work in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
What was it like to work with Nicolas Cage on the movie?
Nicolas Cage is an amazing man and I have a great deal of affection for him. I love the man and I count him as a good friend of mine. He and I are cut from the same cloth. We’re kindred spirits who both march to the beat of our own drum. We’re both outsiders and we’re interested in the same things. We both love comic books, we like a lot of the same music, we like a lot of the same movies for the same reasons, and we’re both incredibly punctual. It was a real thrill for me to work with him because I can remember sneaking into Con Air when I was 15 years old.
What makes Nicolas Cage such an iconic actor?
He has such a unique, distinct presence. To be on set and shooting scenes with him or even having conversations with the guy has been mind blowing for me. There would be moments throughout the six months of filming where I would almost step outside of my body and realize that I was talking to Nicolas Cage. That was really cool for me.
What was it like working with Teresa Palmer?
Teresa is awesome. We have a very similar background and we have similar views on a lot of things. She’s kind, beautiful and easy to fall in love with on camera. I gained another best friend by working with her on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
How much of Fantasia do we see in the new movie?
Well, we do our own version of the Mickey Mouse mop sequence in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was a very fun scene to work on. I make the mops come to life, which is a sequence we shot over a week. While filming that, it was abundantly clear to me that I had to do the best I’d ever done. I certainly had to bring the A-game for those scenes.
Did you want to wear Mickey Mouse’s wizard hat for the magical mop scenes?
No, I was very thankful that I didn’t get to wear Mickey’s hat. Mickey can rock the hat. He looks neat wearing it, but it doesn’t look as cool on my head. It’s pretty hard to look cool with a pointy hat.
What’s your earliest memory of Fantasia?
I was a little kid when I saw Fantasia for the first time and I’m pretty sure I had Fantasia sheets or a blanket on my bed back then. When I was a kid, everything I owned was either Winnie The Pooh or Fantasia. It was huge in my life.
Do you remember the first time you saw the movie?
There are moments in your life when you remember seeing or hearing something for the first time. But when it comes to Fantasia, I don’t remember a life without it. It’s always been there for me. I can’t pinpoint my first viewing, but it’s been thrilling to pay homage to something that’s been in my life forever.
There is a scene in the movie where your character gets beaten up in a bathroom and he says, “Oh, God… This is just like high school all over again.” Did you have a tough childhood like your character in the movie?
Yes and no. I think high school is a mix of the happiest memories of your life and the most miserable memories of your life. I had some real great times at school. House parties haven’t been as fun as they were when I was a teenager. That’s when a party at someone’s house is the most fun thing in the universe. However, that’s also the time of your life when you’re at your most awkward and you can’t stand the way you look. I went to a tough high school in Montreal and the cops were there every single week. Sure, I had my fights back then, but my parents eventually transferred me to a fine arts school. I went from the most dangerous high school to the artiest place ever. It was a strange transition, but it’s all been a great learning process for me.
Many people remember you for your role in Tropic Thunder. How much fun did you have shooting that movie?
Tropic Thunder was sweet. It was real fun and an amazing experience. Between takes, Brandon Jackson and I would time ourselves and see how quickly we could unload and reload our guns with our eyes closed. I could do it in four and a half seconds. I had the record on set.
How did the Tropic Thunder set compare to other movies sets you worked on?
It was very, very, different to my experience on Knocked Up where I was going to set every day with people that I had known for a long time. I lived with Seth Rogan for two years and I stayed with his parents in Vancouver, so he’s like blood to me. In that sense, filming Knocked Up was like a family reunion. I had an amazing mix of love, loyalty and impatience with the people on set there. Tropic Thunder was very different because I went away to a far off place with Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Steve Coogan. I found myself shooting guns in the middle of the jungle with all these guys that became my friends, but they were untouchable icons that I didn’t know at the start of the film shoot. I knew Ben and Jack a little bit, but by spending six months in the jungle with them, I formed some real bonds.
Which film set do you prefer?
I love both experiences equally and I would do either of them again in a heartbeat. Seth Rogan is one of my best friends in the whole world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that kid, and I can call him kid because I am five days older than him. Tropic Thunder and Knocked Up both changed my life, so I have equal affection for them. However, I also have a huge affection for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice because it has become a project I’m extremely proud of.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
My main ambition in life is to direct horror movies in Montreal. Long before I started acting, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life, so if I wasn’t acting I would be making an effort to direct horror movies. If not, I would probably be working at a video store or a record store and talking a lot of rubbish because I know a little about a lot of things. I’m a nerd and I read a lot. I have a head full of useless knowledge.
Where does your passion for horror come from?
I’ve always had a passion for horror, but I don’t know where it came from. The two movie genres that excite me the most are action movies and horror movies – and that’s what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. When I was seven years old, I wanted to be a writer. When I was nine years old, I decided that I wanted to make movies. My mother videotaped me when I was seven years old and there’s a tape of me saying I want to make stuff that scares Stephen King out of his underpants. That’s my next goal. Let’s see if I can make that dream come true.
**WALT DISNEY STUDIO HOME ENTERTAINMENT’S THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOVEMBER 30TH**
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