Exclusive: Jon Turteltaub on National Treasure 3

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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.

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