Jerry Bruckheimer on Filling the Nic Cage Hole in the National Treasure Show

Dec 30, 2022

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is having a massive year. His filmography already boasts the highest-grossing film of 2022, Top Gun: Maverick, but he won’t be resting on laurels any time soon. In fact, Bruckheimer’s return to the beloved Nicolas Cage-led National Treasure franchise just made its debut on Disney+.

National Treasure: Edge of History puts the spotlight on a new cast of characters, this time led by Lisette Olivera’s Jess Valenzuela. When Jess, a gifted puzzle-solver, is confronted with a much larger mystery – one that could be connected to her late father – she enlists the help of her friends to track down an ancient treasure. The ensemble cast also features Catherine Zeta-Jones as Billie Pearce, the fiendish black market dealer hot on Jess’s trail, and Harvey Keitel and Justin Bartha who return as Peter Sadusky and Riley Poole from the feature films.
Now that Edge of History is available on Disney+, with new episodes premiering weekly, Collider’s Perri Nemiroff sat down with Bruckheimer to discuss the highly anticipated reboot. During their conversation, Bruckheimer explained the benefit of adapting the history-focused franchise to a series and what he believes keeps National Treasure feeling timeless. He also shares exciting news about the Margot Robbie-led Pirates of the Caribbean script, reveals what he thinks led to Top Gun: Maverick’s monumental success, and also pinpoints something special he hopes viewers will notice in National Treasure: Edge of History. For all of this and more, you can watch the interview in the video above or read the transcript below.

PERRI NEMIROFF: Probably no surprise here, but the first thing I wanted to ask you about was filling the Nic Cage-sized hole in this series. When you realized he wasn’t going to be in the first season of the show, what were some of your priorities in terms of filling that void, but while also making sure you’re doing it in a way that’s organic to the series and suited to your long-term goals for the show?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you can never replace Nic Cage no matter what you do. He’s an iconic actor and unique in everything he does. But, by having an ensemble cast that are all interesting — and you could spend time with your characters because it’s a TV show, and it’s over a number of episodes, where in National Treasure the movie, you can’t. It’s two hours. If the plot’s not moving along, the first thing that gets cut is character. So now, we have an opportunity to really get in with these characters and find out who they are and what they’re about.

Image via Disney+

I was also curious about updating the movies for modern audiences. What were some of your goals for ensuring that the series would bring in new fans, but also never lose that timeless quality that the original movies have?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, I think it’s the verisimilitude of the fact that all these things are real and live, and it really happened. It’s based on history and we love history, and when you can bring it forward and educate kids, that’s fantastic.

I did want to squeeze in one question about a potential upcoming project. You have a million things that I could have focused on, but the one I wanted to ask about most is the Pirates franchise. I just read that story that the Margot Robbie movie is not moving forward, so it was making me wonder, is there any chance that script could reemerge down the line and, if not, what do you think is the next best move for that franchise?

BRUCKHEIMER: No, I think that that script will come forward at a certain point. We developed two different stories for Pirates and the other one is going forward first. So, that’s what we’re working on, to try to get that one made.

You’ve produced your fair share of sequels over the years, but Top Gun: Maverick does feel like it’s likely going to go down in history as one of the greatest sequels ever made. Is there anything about your experience making that particular movie and also seeing the response to it that might impact your approach to making sequels and continuing franchises in the future?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, it just goes to show you, when you make a really good movie, audiences will embrace it. And that’s what we did. We were very fortunate Tom Cruise is somebody who works so hard and cares so much. We surrounded him with terrific people, writers, and a director, and other actors, and he worked so hard. All the flying is real. But it’s really about the emotion. It’s an emotional story. It’s about the characters and emotions.

Image via Disney+

We often talk about your movies being big, massive box office spectacles, and they very much are, but for this National Treasure show, is there any tiny detail, maybe something that wasn’t part of a big set piece or even addressed via a line of dialogue, that you hope viewers take notice of?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, what I love is the cast. I love Jess. I love all the rest of the cast, and I love the fact that they interact so well and their characters are well-defined, and they have so much fun doing it. And it’s so engaging for an audience to follow these characters. And that’s what we do. That’s what we try to do.

National Treasure: Edge of History is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes released every Wednesday. For more on the making of the show, check out Perri’s interview with Catherine Zeta-Jones below:

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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