National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets comes out on DVD on May 20, and in preparation for the release, director Jon Turteltaub sat down with several of his closest friends (and by “closest friends,” I mean “members of the media”) to chat about the film and what audiences can expect from the DVD and BluRay releases.
Even as the first National Treasure was hitting the screens, it was being compared to the Indiana Jones films, which is a special treat for Turteltaub. “Raiders of the Lost Ark is the ultimate adventure movie,” he said. “I can’t see anything wrong with it. It’s pretty perfect.”
And as the films are compared, the main characters – Indiana Jones and Benjamin Gates – are as well. “The comparison is a fair one and doesn’t bother me,” Turteltaub said. “Both characters are passionate about history and judge the value of their treasures on the object’s historical and cultural value, not its financial value. But I think Indy and Ben Gates are both characters derived from old-fashioned movies of the 30’s and 40’s. Also, Indiana Jones has one big advantage over Ben Gates… Indy is directed by Spielberg. That’s a plus.”
While Turteltaub didn’t have Spielberg, he did have uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer at his side for both movies. Turteltaub knew he had to live up to Bruckheimer’s other films. “I knew what kind of imagery the audiences expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer film,” he said. “In turn, I tried to keep the look of the National Treasure movies consistent with that. However, credit really does need to go to the people who are responsible for creating those looks… Michael Bay, John Schwartzman and Tony Scott stand out.”
Ack! Here we go with Michael Bay. Let’s move on.
Turteltaub, who was curious about history as a child. (“I was a lot more into history than I was into history classes,” he admitted) enjoys the historical aspects of the film. His favorite response comes from teachers. “Many use the films in their classes,” he said. “I’m not sure I should be so proud of this, but my movies are shown in more history classes than film classes. Oh well.”
To keep this support, Turteltaub has strove to make the history as real as possible, even when people think he’s making things up. “Staying true to the history is everything for me. That’s the puzzle,” he said. “What we found is that whenever we made up historical facts it made the scenes feel fake, but when we stuck to the real history, things worked more believably. If we make facts up, it feels to me like cheating.”
Of course, there has to be some sort of artistic license. One always will wonder if there is a Book of Secrets hidden somewhere in the Library of Congress or a secret compartment in the desk of the President. “If we knew there wasn’t a Book of Secrets or a secret compartment, we wouldn’t have put it in,” Turteltaub said slyly. “Certainly, there have been rumors and stories of this book… sometimes it’s believed to be kept by the CIA, sometimes by the FBI. And if you ever go on a tour of the White House, try to sneak into the Oval Office and get a look at the desk. I’m dying to hear what you find.”
On his plate in the future, Turteltaub has produced and directed a pilot for CBS, but he is also looking forward on working with Bruckheimer, Nicolas Cage and Disney again. “We’re doing a modern day re-telling of the story The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It was inspired by the Mickey Mouse classic from Fantasia.” We can only hope this is true.
For the DVD hounds out there, Turteltaub promises some Easter Eggs in the mix. While he won’t tell us where you can find them (“Oh… they’re there. But telling you would ruin all the fun,” he said), try turning left in the second bonus features menu on disc 2.