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The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Sneak Peek

Walt Disney Pictures, and the team behind the “National Treasure” franchise, present “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” — an epic comedy adventure about a sorcerer and his hapless apprentice who are swept into the center of an ancient conflict between good and evil. Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar cannot do it alone so he decides to recruit Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel). Dave is an average guy who demonstrates hidden potential. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art of magic, and together, pit their powers against the fiercest villains of all time. It will take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Read on to find out more about the film and its production.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” has sparked the imagination of some of the most creative minds in history — from Nicolas Cage, Jon Turteltaub and Jerry Bruckheimer to composer Paul Dukas and Walt Disney. But it all started with a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The 14-stanza poem is narrated by the apprentice himself, who, upon being left to his own devices by his old “Hexenmeister,” takes it upon himself to arrogantly demonstrate his own magical arts. The apprentice orders an old broomstick to wrap itself in rags, grow a head and two arms and, with a bucket, prepare a bath for him. The living broomstick fills not only the tub, but every bowl and cup and the apprentice has forgotten the magic word to make it stop. This results in a massive flood. The apprentice takes an axe to the poor old broom, splitting it and resulting in two living broomsticks. The apprentice is finally bailed out, quite literally, by the return of the old hexenmeister, who quickly sends the broom back into the closet from whence it came. A hundred years later, the poem was adapted into a hugely popular 10-minute symphonic piece, “L’apprenti sorcier,” by the French composer Paul Dukas. An immediate success for its brilliant musical coloration and rhythmic excellence. Walt Disney discovered it some four decades after that, creating an animated version for his immortal “Fantasia” - Casting none other than Mickey Mouse in the title role of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Now, 69 years after the release of “Fantasia,” Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films have created a fresh story for the big screen. While inspired by those that came before it, 2010’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is an all-new live-action adventure. The message remains simple and fun, yet timeless and profound. “What’s great about the story is this little lesson about cutting corners, doing things the easy way, trying to fulfill this desire we all have to grow up a little too fast,” says Turteltaub. The cinematic rebirth of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” in fact, originated with a passionate admirer of the Disney version — Nicolas Cage. “The idea came to me and my friend Todd Garner,” he recalls. “I was making another movie at the time, and I wanted to explore a more magical and fantastic realm where I could play a character who had mystical abilities. I shared these thoughts with Todd, and the next day, we hit on the perfect project: ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’"

All of the major players behind “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” were fans of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia.” “To me,” says Cage, “it’s the most beautiful movie ever made. I think ‘Fantasia’ might have been the first movie my parents ever took me to see. It was my introduction to the movies, to Walt Disney animation and also, naturally, to classical music. The imagery throughout the entire film just transported me, and even at that young age, I think it influenced my life. Disney movies, and then going to Disneyland itself, really inspired me. I still watch ‘Fantasia’ annually, lower the lights and lose myself in the movie.” And while the film isn’t a remake of the classic Disney piece from “Fantasia,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” pays proper homage to it, a fact that didn’t escape the director. “‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ has such a great Disney pedigree to it,” says Turteltaub, “and I knew right away that I’d be dealing with something that had to be excellent, had to be special, had to live up to its important role within Disney and the history of film. That piece from ‘Fantasia’ is as iconic as any eight minutes of film that has ever been created, so to be part of that was really exciting. You think, ‘All right, where do you go with that’—and that’s where all the creativity starts jumping.”

“It’s a story about two quests,” explains Bruckheimer. “Balthazar has been searching the world through the centuries for his apprentice, and Dave then has to discover his true potential as a human being. Dave is a very serious student and doesn’t need or want Balthazar in his life, or to be a sorcerer. But Balthazar is like a fly that keeps buzzing around, tormenting this poor kid until he succumbs to becoming this magical character. But if someone showed up at your door and said that you’re really a sorcerer, you wouldn’t believe them either. But in the course of the story, you see the relationship build between the two of them and how Balthazar gives Dave the confidence that he needs, not only with his sorcery, but also his personal life.”


Catch "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" starting July 15, 2010. This film is brought to you by Walt Disney Pictures.

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