Jay Baruchel Talks Playing ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was one of those summer movies that didn’t generate the buzz Walt Disney had hoped for but it did have its fans and for those who may have missed it, the movie comes to DVD on Tuesday. Actor Jay Baruchel played the title role and in an interview supplied by Walt Disney Home Entertainment, he reviews his work on the film.
Question: How does it feel to be involved with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ?
Jay Baruchel: It’s a great honor to be part of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but it’s also very stressful because Fantasia is cherished and beloved by so many people around the world. The sorcerer’s apprentice sequence of Fantasia is one of the most iconic and important sequences in film history, so I didn’t want to screw this up. If you were going to create a retrospective of great film moments, I think the Fantasia sequence would be up there alongside Cary Grant being chased by the crop duster in North By Northwest. It has been exhilarating to get the chance to do something so important to so many people, but there’s a lot of weight on our shoulders and I didn’t want to get it wrong.
Question: How do you deal with the stress of working on such an iconic project?
Jay Baruchel: There are two possible outcomes. You can either let the stress get the best of you and wilt in the face of adversity, or you can let the stress push you to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. The only other time in my career where I felt a similar weight on my shoulders was when I got to work for Clint Eastwood. It was tough. There’s a great sports analogy that comes to mind when I think about this. If you get drafted into the NHL and you get to play on the same line with the guys that made you want to start playing hockey in the first place, are you going to mess up under the pressure? Or are you going to show everyone the reason why you are standing there next to these amazing athletes? I had to bring my A-game to this project. I wanted to prove to everyone that they made the right decision in hiring me.
Question: What was your highlight to the filming of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
Jay Baruchel: Shooting plasma bolts out of my hands has been a lifelong ambition of mine. Ever since I played Street Fighter II when I was a kid, I’ve been waiting to shoot energy out of my hands. For years, nothing happened. My hands finally get to work in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Question: What was it like to work with Nicolas Cage on the movie?
Jay Baruchel: Nicolas Cage is an amazing man and I have a great
deal of affection for him. I love the man and I count him as a good
friend of mine. He and I are cut from the same cloth. We’re kindred
spirits who both march to the beat of our own drum. We’re both outsiders
and we’re interested in the same things. We both love comic books, we
like a lot of the same music, we like a lot of the same movies for the
same reasons, and we’re both incredibly punctual. It was a real thrill
for me to work with him because I can remember sneaking into Con Air
when I was 15 years old.
Question: What makes Nicolas Cage such an iconic actor?
Jay Baruchel: He has such a unique, distinct presence. To be on
set and shooting scenes with him or even having conversations with the
guy has been mind blowing for me. There would be moments throughout the
six months of filming where I would almost step outside of my body and
realize that I was talking to Nicolas Cage. That was really cool for me.
Question: What was it like working with Teresa Palmer?
Jay Baruchel: Teresa is awesome. We have a very similar
background and we have similar views on a lot of things. She’s kind,
beautiful and easy to fall in love with on camera. I gained another best
friend by working with her on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Question: How much of Fantasia do we see in the new movie?
Jay Baruchel: Well, we do our own version of the Mickey Mouse mop sequence in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,
which was a very fun scene to work on. I make the mops come to life,
which is a sequence we shot over a week. While filming that, it was
abundantly clear to me that I had to do the best I’d ever done. I
certainly had to bring the A-game for those scenes.
Question: Did you want to wear Mickey Mouse’s wizard hat for the magical mop scenes?
Jay Baruchel: No, I was very thankful that I didn’t get to
wear Mickey’s hat. Mickey can rock the hat. He looks neat wearing it,
but it doesn’t look as cool on my head. It’s pretty hard to look cool
with a pointy hat.
Question: What’s your earliest memory of Fantasia?
Jay Baruchel: I was a little kid when I saw Fantasia
for the first time and I’m pretty sure I had Fantasia sheets or a
blanket on my bed back then. When I was a kid, everything I owned was
either Winnie The Pooh or Fantasia. It was huge in my life.
Question: Do you remember the first time you saw the movie?
Jay Baruchel: There are moments in your life when you remember
seeing or hearing something for the first time. But when it comes to
Fantasia, I don’t remember a life without it. It’s always been there for
me. I can’t pinpoint my first viewing, but it’s been thrilling to pay
homage to something that’s been in my life forever.
Question: There is a scene in the movie where your character gets
beaten up in a bathroom and he says, “Oh, God… This is just like high
school all over again.” Did you have a tough childhood like your
character in the movie?
Jay Baruchel: Yes and no. I think high school is a mix of the
happiest memories of your life and the most miserable memories of your
life. I had some real great times at school. House parties haven’t been
as fun as they were when I was a teenager. That’s when a party at
someone’s house is the most fun thing in the universe. However, that’s
also the time of your life when you’re at your most awkward and you
can’t stand the way you look. I went to a tough high school in Montreal
and the cops were there every single week. Sure, I had my fights back
then, but my parents eventually transferred me to a fine arts school. I
went from the most dangerous high school to the artiest place ever. It
was a strange transition, but it’s all been a great learning process for
Question: Many people remember you for your role in Tropic Thunder. How much fun did you have shooting that movie?
Jay Baruchel: Tropic Thunder was sweet. It was real fun
and an amazing experience. Between takes, Brandon Jackson and I would
time ourselves and see how quickly we could unload and reload our guns
with our eyes closed. I could do it in four and a half seconds. I had
the record on set.
Question: How did the Tropic Thunder set compare to other movies sets you worked on?
Jay Baruchel: It was very, very, different to my experience on Knocked Up
where I was going to set every day with people that I had known for a
long time. I lived with Seth Rogan for two years and I stayed with his
parents in Vancouver, so he’s like blood to me. In that sense, filming
Knocked Up was like a family reunion. I had an amazing mix of love,
loyalty and impatience with the people on set there. Tropic Thunder was
very different because I went away to a far off place with Jack Black,
Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Steve Coogan. I found myself shooting
guns in the middle of the jungle with all these guys that became my
friends, but they were untouchable icons that I didn’t know at the start
of the film shoot. I knew Ben and Jack a little bit, but by spending
six months in the jungle with them, I formed some real bonds.
Question: Which film set do you prefer?
Jay Baruchel: I love both experiences equally and I would do
either of them again in a heartbeat. Seth Rogan is one of my best
friends in the whole world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that kid,
and I can call him kid because I am five days older than him. Tropic Thunder and Knocked Up both changed my life, so I have equal affection for them. However, I also have a huge affection for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice because it has become a project I’m extremely proud of.
Question: What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
Jay Baruchel: My main ambition in life is to direct horror
movies in Montreal. Long before I started acting, I knew that’s what I
wanted to do with my life, so if I wasn’t acting I would be making an
effort to direct horror movies. If not, I would probably be working at a
video store or a record store and talking a lot of rubbish because I
know a little about a lot of things. I’m a nerd and I read a lot. I have
a head full of useless knowledge.
Question: Where does your passion for horror come from?
Jay Baruchel: I’ve always had a passion for horror, but I
don’t know where it came from. The two movie genres that excite me the
most are action movies and horror movies – and that’s what I want to
spend the rest of my life doing. When I was seven years old, I wanted to
be a writer. When I was nine years old, I decided that I wanted to make
movies. My mother videotaped me when I was seven years old and there’s a
tape of me saying I want to make stuff that scares Stephen King out of
his underpants. That’s my next goal. Let’s see if I can make that dream