Interview with Jay Baruchel from Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice

By Marco Chacon
6 Min Read

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Interview with Jay Baruchel from Disney's The  Sorcerer's Apprentice
Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios. All Rights Reserved.

JAY BARUCHEL (Dave Stutler) was recently seen and heard at the box office in the DreamWorks' romantic comedy "She's Out of My League" and the DreamWorks animated feature "How to Train Your Dragon."  In addition, he will begin production on "Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse," opposite his "Knocked Up" co-star Seth Rogen.  His other credits include the Academy Award®-winning movie "Million Dollar Baby," opposite Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman, and the blockbuster hit comedy "Tropic Thunder," opposite Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr.  Baruchel began acting at age 12 when he landed a recurring role on "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" -a hit television series on Nickelodeon.

Baruchel stars as Dave Stutlerin in the innovative and epic comedy adventure "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." 

Q:  What can audiences expect from this film? 

A:  This movie is a heck of a ride.  This movie is going to blow people's minds.  There is something that will appeal to everyone.  There are great fight scenes, great chase scenes and it is really, really funny.  I think people will be surprised at the comedy.  It is the quintessential big summer action movie. 

Q:  Please briefly describe the story of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

A:  The film is about good and evil sorcerers doing battle in modern-day Manhattan.  There are two clans of sorcerers, the Merlinians and Morganians.  They take their names from the two original sorcerers, Merlin and Morgana, from the King Arthur legend.  After Merlin dies, Nic Cage's character, Balthazar Blake, spends a thousand years looking for what is called the prime Merlinian sorcerer who will inherit Merlin's power and save the world.  It is his duty to train this sorcerer once he finds him.

Q:  Why did you choose this role?

A:  I read the script and it just captured my imagination like crazy.  I am a huge nerd.  My favorite stuff growing up was telekinesis and all that cool stuff.  The deal closer for me was when I discovered the character shoots plasma bolts out of his hands.  I was like, ‘I have to be in this movie. Plasma bolts!'  That is why I am here.  I also dug the kind of arc that Dave goes on.  It is a great hero's journey.  It was exciting for me to transform from a nerdy, nebbish guy to a force to be reckoned with. 

Q:  In "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" your character discovers he has magical powers.  What magical power would you choose for yourself to have in real life?

A:  I would like to be invisible.  I hate people staring at me and I don't do well in crowds.  So it would be nice to just evaporate. [SNAPS FINGERS]  That would be pretty cool.

Q:  Describe the relationship between Balthazar Blake and Dave Stutler. 

A:  Their relationship is the epitome of the master and apprentice relationship.  Dave asks too many questions and is constantly complaining.  Dave doesn't like to apply himself and he is a constant source of annoyance for Balthazar. 

Q:  What was it like to work with the legendary Nicolas Cage? 

A:  Working with Nic Cage has been the coolest thing for me so far in my career.  He marches to the beat of his own drum and I respect him infinitely for that.  He is someone in many ways I aspire to be and it is absolutely incredible to play scenes with him.  Getting to be on screen with somebody of his stature and his ability is huge for me.  It was like a movie-star school to stand alongside of him and say ‘Oh this is how you become an action hero.' He has been front and center on the world's stage for a very long time.  It was nice to see how that can happen but you can still be a normal guy.  You can still be polite and treat everyone kindly.  And beyond that, I just enjoy his company.  He makes me laugh and I seem to make him laugh and cringe if nothing else.    

Q:  Describe your working relationship with the director Jon Turteltaub. 

A:  It was a positive and collaborative atmosphere on set.  Jon always made me feel free to contribute and to put my own spin on things.  I'm so honored that even on a movie of this size and stature he still allowed me to improvise and do my own thing.  Jon is also a fun dude.  So even though he makes these big, high-concept action movies, I think he's wired like a comic writer-director.  He is always listening for the funny moments. 

Q:  What was it like to work with such a prolific producer as Jerry Bruckheimer? 

A:  It is a trip.  I grew up watching every Bruckheimer movie.  I remember my friends and I buying tickets for another movie and sneaking into "Con Air" when we were 15.  Everyone knows what he does and what he can do.  He has entertained audiences for years.  And the worlds that he creates are incredible-to be in one is a pretty mind-blowing experience.

Q:  A Bruckheimer production is synonymous with action adventure.  What was it like to take on this genre? 

A:  It's a chance to do what I have always dreamed of doing shooting plasma bolts out of my hands, killing monsters, and getting the girl.  Finally, this movie matched what I have seen in my head all my life.  [LAUGHS] 

Q:  Did you find it challenging to act with all the visual effects?

A:  I am a chronic daydreamer. I am always in my head.  I am always imagining stuff.  So for me, it was just another day imagining dragons and monsters and all sorts of weird stuff, but this time I could make a living at it.  [LAUGHS]   We also had great faith in our visual effects supervisor, John Nelson.  He is really, really good at what he does. I mean the man won an Academy Award® for his work on "Gladiator."  So we knew that he would take care of us and make it look cool.

Q:  Teresa Palmer plays Becky Barnes who is Dave's potential love interest in the film.  Tell us about working with this Australian beauty? 

A:  Oh, she's the greatest.  We were friends going into the movie and so it was nice to be on set with somebody whose company I enjoy.  She is really kind and sweet and funny and adorable.  She just comes in and makes everyone happier whenever she's around.  And she is a heck of an actress.  She is the real deal. 

Q:  Describe working with the internationally acclaimed actress Monica Bellucci? 

A:  I was lucky enough to be on set with her.  She has such a strong presence on screen, so to get the chance to work with her was an absolute honor.  She is amazing and she is probably the most beautiful woman in the history of the world.  There was one night during production when Monica and Teresa Palmer were on set at the same time and I thought, ‘This is why I got into acting.'  [LAUGHS]

Q:  Do you believe in magic? 

A:  I think films themselves are magic.  I think that a film at its best hijacks people's imaginations and transports them.  When people connect to a film, it is true magic to me.  If we have done our job correctly, audiences will sit down and we will take them away into this magical world for two hours.  They will be captivated and they will forget that they're sitting in their seat in a movie theater. 

Q:  Why did the filmmakers decide to shoot "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in New York City? 

A:  The movie is a love letter to New York City.  If I remember correctly, the opening sentence of the script was something to the effect of ‘sunrise as day breaks over the most magical city in the world.'  Anyone who has spent any time in New York knows that is true.  It is truly the world's capital.  So the fact that we got to make a whole movie here was fantastic.  We actually drove through Times Square on Sixth Avenue.  We were actually in Battery Park and Chinatown and Wall Street.  It was pretty spectacular.  People are going to see our movie and get taken away into a New York that they recognize but also a New York that they've never seen before.

Q: Death-defying car chases are a signature trademark for Bruckheimer films.  Can you describe some car chases that audiences will see in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice?"

A:  Oh yeah, a car chase is a prerequisite.  Balthazar's car is a 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom.  It's pretty amazing but there is more to make sure we get away quicker from the evil sorcerers we turn our Rolls into a McLaren Mercedes.  The evil sorcerers are chasing us in a beautiful black Ferrari.  We are racing through the heart of midtown Manhattan on a Friday night.  It is insane: a car chase with two of the fastest, sexiest cars on Earth.  It was awesome!

Q:  Besides all the amazing special effects, there is some great physical comedy.  Did you enjoy this aspect of the role?

A:  Physical comedy is the reason I got into acting.  I've been tripping and falling down my whole life, so I figured I might as well find a way to get paid for it.  [LAUGHS]  Physical comedy is the purest form of comedy because it requires no translation.  There is nothing left to the subtlety or nuances of language.  Regardless of what language you speak or where you live, everyone finds someone falling down or getting their butt kicked funny.  That's why I love it.

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