Right: Nicolas Cage and Bruckheimer
during a lull in the shooting of
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Lower right:
Bruckheimer with Johnny Depp during
filming of Pirates of the Caribbean.
asked me to be associate producer,” he relates.
“So I came [to Hollywood] with a job. I had
no money, but I had a job.”
For the next 11 years, Bruckheimer
worked as associate producer and producer
on a number of films that did well, but his
career really exploded when he was paired
with former studio executive Don Simpson
and the two produced Flashdance. That was
followed by a string of hits, including Beverly
Hills Cop and Top Gun. After Simpson’s death,
in 1996, during the production of the hit film
The Rock—incidentally, the first of
Bruckheimer’s seven projects starring Nicolas
Cage—the producer decided to go it alone.He
followed up the next year with another big
action hit, Con Air.
While it may seem that a lot of Bruckheimer’s films are big action blockbusters, he
scoffs at any notion that it is all he aims to do.
He says he starts out looking for “something
that’s entertaining, with great characters,
that’s got good stories.
“You develop things, and some of them
happen,” he explains. “You develop four small
films and none of them come to fruition. You
develop 10 big-budgeted films and they all
come to fruition.”
show runners,” he says. “They’re the ones who
are writing the episodes; you want them to produce them. We’ll certainly help them with casting; we’ll work very closely with them on the
pilot, make sure they have the right cast, the
right tone, [that it] has the right look to it. But if
it gets picked up, they’re going to do the show.”
Although television is an important part
of his business, he seems more energized talking about motion pictures, and that may be
due to the necessary commitment.
“Movies take forever to get made,” he
says. “So I have to spend a little more time.”
Asked how much time, Bruckheimer,
without hesitation, responds, “Years. It can be
seven, eight years. We did one that took 10
Initially, the work is devoted to the script.
Bruckheimer will work with a writer or teams
of writers to get to a point where he’s comfort-
able trying to move the project to production.
“You read the script; you give them notes,”
he explains. “They rewrite; you take a meeting with them, talk about it, read it again, sit
down with them, talk about it and hopefully
get to a place where you can make the film.”
Bruckheimer claims those meetings are
“I love smart people who can talk me out of
things,” he asserts. “I only try to force my cre-
ative view if the writers and directors are getting
away from the movie we wanted to make.”
In the case of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,
despite his Disney deal, the project did not
originate with Bruckheimer but was brought
to him by Nicolas Cage, who had a lifelong
affection for Fantasia.
Developing the project
Bruckheimer’s world now takes two
paths: One is developing television projects,
the other film.
“I’m certainly more hands-on in films
than I am in television,” he admits. His television work is mostly relegated to the initial
creation and development of the series.
“The word for television is speed,” he
clarifies. “You hear a pitch; you pitch it to a
network; you know in a day or two if they’re
going to give you a script commitment. It
turns into a script in six weeks; they say yes or
no for a pilot; you shoot the pilot.”
But Bruckheimer claims his work pretty
much ends after the pilot.
“In television, you want to empower your
Win a Bruckheimer Film Library
COSTCO HAS 20 SETS of Jerry Bruckheimer’s Film Library in Blu-ray Disc
format to give away. For a chance to
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mailing address to giveaway@costco.
com, with “Bruckheimer Giveaway” in
the subject line. Or print your name,
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Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Open to legal residents of the U.S. (except Puerto Rico) who are age 18 or older at the time of entry.
One entry per household. Entries must be received by November 1, 2010. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by mail on or before
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postcard or letter and send it to:
Bruckheimer Giveaway, The Costco
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NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS
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Jerry Bruckheimer is not one for complacency. At any given time, he has numerous
projects in development—his Internet Movie
Database page (
nm0000988) showed 18 at press time—for
television and film, with no certainty as to
how many will ever get into production.
“You never know,” he says. “If you see five,
In a town where “everyone wants to direct,”
Bruckheimer is happy with what he does.
“I think everyone would like to direct a
film,” he says, “but you have to know what
you’re good at. And I’m not sure I have the
patience to direct.”
What he’s good at is getting films made,
regardless of budget. Articles have been written
about studios and television networks tighten-
ing belts due to fiscal uncertainty these days,
but Bruckheimer denies it’s anything new.
“[The fiscal constraints] have always been
there. It’s always the same,” he says. “Every
budget you submit to the studio, they always
say [it’s] too much. If you’re good, you find
different ways to do it. You make it simpler. It
doesn’t change the content; it changes how
you film the content.”
Ultimately, all that matters are the final
results, and Bruckheimer’s desired epitaph says
it all: “He really entertained audiences; he made
them feel better for a couple of hours.” C
30 ;e Costco Connection OCTOBER 2010