Jerry talks, we listen...

By Shu ChiangMovies - 05 July 2010 2:00 PM

Jerry talks, we listen...

Unless you've completely cut blockbuster films out of your life, and watched no English-language television for the last two decades, you've probably been entertained by a Jerry Bruckheimer offering.

Take the last year, for instance. Have you watched any of the CSI shows? Pure Bruckheimer. Reality-TV powerhouse The Amazing Race, which recently filmed a leg in Singapore? Yup, Bruckheimer, too.

And what about popular films like Confessions of a Shopaholic and G-Force? You get the picture. His fingerprints are on almost everything, and he has an uncanny Midas touch.

Since the 1980s, when Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun become iconic box-office hits, Bruckheimer has established himself as the ultimate Hollywood player.

He's put together movie projects out of theme park rides (the Pirates of the Caribbean films), a video game (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), and will soon deliver us The Sorcerer's Apprentice, based on a Mickey Mouse segment from the Disney classic, Fantasia.

Unequivocally one of the top power brokers in Tinseltown, and himself an A-list celebrity figure, he recently sat down with for a short chat while in San Francisco to promote Prince of Persia, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, due out 22 July.

And when Jerry talks, even for just ten minutes, you listen.

The 64-year-old was all business, speaking briskly in an economical manner, steadily giving compact, measured answers and always quick to praise his collaborators. Even at his age, overseeing multiple enterprises, including a new games studio, he said he was still very much 'hands-on'.

“I'm always hands-on to everything – I'm in the loop. Sometimes I'm there, but I can't always be there when they're filming, because there's too many things to do.

“When the movie's being made, it's the director (in charge), you don't want to be there and take away his power. I just make sure he's got all the tools he needs. If he's missing anything, we'll talk about it.

“But I still get involved in the post-production, the editing, the marketing, the music, the sound effects. So I'm involved all that process, I'm involved in the beginning, the storytelling part, the screenplay, and I'm involved in picking the director, then picking the cast.”

Speaking of casting, Bruckheimer's frequent leading man, Nicolas Cage, features in Sorcerer's Apprentice and is expected to reprise his role in another National Treasure sequel in 2011.

Talking about his upcoming film, Cage told that Bruckheimer was his only choice to get his film on the way to being made, and made in a successful blockbuster style.

“(We figured) we'd give the film all the panache and all the big entertainment style. There's nobody better than Jerry Bruckheimer, so we went to Jerry, and being the good friend and a great producer that he is, he read it and said, 'Hey, when are we doing it?'”

A Bruckheimer product tends to come with a lot of style, sometimes 'loud style', if you will. The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys – they're all made with that unmistakeable Bruckheimer trademark of big-name stars, spectacular action and memorable moments, lines and soundtracks.

Asked about his style, and how he developed it, Bruckheimer was elusive.

“I never know, what captures me is the story – the arena's important, but I love the story, I love story telling, so that's my thing. I just love (showbiz). I wouldn't be here if I didn't. I love making movies, creating, and talking to journalists, I just love it.”

“The best thing is watching something with an audience. For me, it's just about entertaining people. I love to entertain people, that's the thrill I get. So when our movies open, I'll be standing in the back, watching people have a blast.”

And Bruckheimer still has a lot more up his sleeve.

“We have forty different projects in development, and every one we'd like to see come to the screen. But it takes a long time. This picture (Prince of Persia) took six years to get to the screen, I'll betcha Sorcerer's took four years? All these things take a long time.”

Before long, he added, more people will starting to consuming entertainment literally everywhere, not just at home or in cinemas.

“The iPad's come out, you'll be watching things there, things on your phone, and 3D has added another layer to the experience in the theatre.  I mean eventually, we'll have holograms, so you'll be seeing live things, right in front of you.”

With social networking and online marketing gaining importance, Bruckheimer also sounded off on Twitter.

“I think it's good and bad, you know? Twitter can kill a movie just as fast as it can promote it. Somebody could be sitting in the theatre and telling their friend it sucks, as they watch it – so that's it.

“But then the studios counter, they Twitter their own things, so you don't know what the truth is,” he said, laughing.

So, truthfully, what does it take to be Jerry Bruckheimer?  The man has a few tips.

“We pick the people that are much better than we are, much smarter than we are,” he said of his collaborators. And there's the little matter of being a doggedly good businessman.

“You have to be patient and you have to be determined. You just have to keep pushing the ball up the hill.”