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National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets: Online Roundtable with Jon Turteltaub

Game: National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets
Company: Paramount

We had the opportunity to sit in on an online roundtable with National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets Director, Jon Turteltaub and a number of other journalists. Mr. Turteltaub was not only a wealth of information about the movie and many other subjects, but he was also quite entertaining. Read on to get a sneak peek on what to expect when the National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets DVD/Blu-Ray hits store shelves on May 23rd.

Q: Aside from the obvious , such as bigger, better, faster, more complex (all of which you touch upon in the DVD extras), what is the REAL book of secrets to making a successful sequel?

Jon Turteltaub: The key to making a successful sequel is to be able to accurately judge exactly what it was about the first movie that the audience liked. It can be deceptive and you can fool yourself. In our case, we believed that the most important element of the first National Treasure was the relationships between the characters. Obviously, the use of real history and real landmarks in the search for fictional treasure is the main concept... but what made the movie standout was the humor and warmth shared by the characters. So... we made sure to get the entire cast back together and build on those relationships.

Q: Mr. Turteltaub, which movie you're most proud of?

Jon Turteltaub: That's actually a very difficult question to answer because each film represents a different part of my career or my life. In some ways, "Cool Runnings" gives me the most pride because I think it gave a lot of encouragement to people in developing nations around the world. When I travel, it's certainly the film that most people comment on.

Q: Who's your favourite movie hero from all times?

Jon Turteltaub: As for my favorite movie hero... growing up, I was a big James Bond fan. It wasn't just that he was always saving the world, but he always knew exactly what to say to women. I never know what to say to women, so to me, he was like a super hero.

Q: The obvious question is: there will be a third segment of "National Treasure"? Is it in the works?

Jon Turteltaub: We're trying! Our philosophy is that until we have a great story, a great adventure, and a great piece of history to explore, there's no point in making the movie. But we are working on it. (And by "we" I mean "other people".)

Q: Which location was the most and the least problematic in terms of shooting the film?

Jon Turteltaub: Without question, shooting on the streets of London was an enormous undertaking. As many of you already know, just WALKING on the streets of London is difficult. There are an enormous number of rules, regulations, departments, governments and laws that had to be obeyed for us to pull off that car chase... and I'm very impressed with our production team who had the determination and the patience to pull it off. Surprisingly, one of the easiest places to shoot was Mt. Vernon. While they were very protective of the landmark home of George Washington, they were also a private organization without connections to the government. So it was only a matter of one or two people who had to say "yes" to our requests.

Q: Was there a point where you feared that the story was too long and complex to be told in a 2 hour movie, and did you have to let go of some material?

Jon Turteltaub: We knew the story was too long and too complex the moment we realized that our script was 180 pages long. That's 60 pages longer than a script should be. Not surprisingly, the first cut of the movie was close to four hours long! So, we basically cut out an entire movie's worth of material. That's not fun... but the DVD people LOVE it because they get more deleted scenes that way. (Vultures!)

Q: What role does the DVD play in the process of making a film like National Treasure 2. Do you, as director of the film, think about the extras during the process of filming, or is that for somebody else?

Jon Turteltaub: The DVD doesn't come into play in a significant way. The goal is still to make a great movie. Sometimes we forget that with all the extras and bonus material, the main reason the public buys or rents a DVD is to see the movie! However, we're now aware of bonus material when we're shooting, so if something particularly funny or strange happens on the set, we'll often earmark it for the DVD.

Q: Nicolas Cage investigates Mount Rushmore, the White House and the Library of Congress. Have you received money from the Federal Government for this "advertisment of national touristic sights"?

Jon Turteltaub: Last time I checked, the government spends its energy TAKING money. What government GIVES money? In fact, not only didn't they give us money... they charged us a lot to shoot at some of these locations. Someone has to pay the park rangers, the security staff, and the police to work overtime and it's certainly not going to be the taxpayers. However, while there can be a lot of problems... once they realized that we were not out to condemn our country's history but to romanticize it... they were much more supportive.

Q: This DVD will soon be on sale in Mexico City, so, why should people have it in their homes? Which extra material we will see?

Jon Turteltaub: The best reason for people to buy the DVD is that it's the only place they'll be able to see my brilliant and witty commentary. In fact, they should buy the DVDs for the first National Treasure as well... because not only are there lots of extras like deleted scenes, outtakes, bonus features on the history of the Declaration of Independence or the Library of Congress... but on some of the features my hair looks really great. (I miss my hair.)

Q: How long does it take you to get the National Treasures scripts written and then plan out the fx and stunts?

Jon Turteltaub: It SHOULD take years. Unfortunately, we pulled off "Book of Secrets" in eleven months. The first National Treasure took almost seven years to write. But on the sequel, we were writing and shooting all at the same time. It's a miracle that we finished. If we were better and smarter filmmakers, we would have spent more time finishing the script, then spent about six months preparing, another five months filming, and another five months editing.

Q: You've had some interesting comments about how you view violence and the anticipation of violence in adventure films. Can you explain?

Jon Turteltaub: I like this question... because I do have some strong feelings on this subject. I remember driving down the Sunset Strip one day about ten years ago and I passed about seven giant movie billboards. And in every one there was a character holding a gun. It hit me that Hollywood does too good a job glorifying gun use. Now, I'm not saying that there shouldn't be guns in movies... I think bans of that sort are silly. But it did make me want to make a movie where the action hero didn't use a gun. I thought that if I could come up with a character who was just as brave and just as athletic as any other action hero, but used his head instead of a gun to get out of trouble, then we'd be making a more interesting film and maybe we'd be doing a good thing by not encouraging kids to solve problems with guns.

Q: Benjamin Gates is often compared to Indiana Jones. What would you say are the main differences between the two characters ?

Jon Turteltaub: The comparison is a fair one and doesn't bother me... 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.

Q: Personally, my favorite scene was when Benjamin Gates went bonkers at Buckingham Palace. I really thought the silliness worked. How did you keep from going too far with the silliness, humor and tongue-in-cheek?

Jon Turteltaub: The worry about going too far is ALWAYS on your mind when working with Nic Cage. The man has no fear. He loves when he gets the opportunity to let loose. So we always try to vary the performances just a bit so that there's a range of energy to play with. Nic was actually worried about offending the Brits. He's extremely polite and is always a gentleman, so he actually needed a little encouragement to let go a bit.

Q: What's the secret of page 47? Or will it be revealed in part 3?

Jon Turteltaub: Call me later and I'll tell you privately. or email me at [email protected]'

Q: Do you believe there's a revival of movies concerning treasure hunting in these past years, considering that we'll have a new Indiana Jones soon and we had a DaVinci Code?

Jon Turteltaub: I'm not sure why but there is a revival. Perhaps it's just the cyclical nature of the movie business. When we made the first National Treasure, there hadn't been a good old-fashioned treasure hunt movie in fifteen years. Maybe everything old is new again. But between National Treasure, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Indy... it shows that audiences still like the old-fashioned adventures.

Q: After very diverse movies like Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, Cool Runnings and National Treasure 1 and 2, what kind of film would you really like to make? What genre holds a challenge for you?

Jon Turteltaub: Every director is labeled. I've tried very hard to avoid being considered just one type of director. But it's impossible. Everyone looks at whatever movie you successfully did last and then they want you to do the same thing. The thing I've noticed, however, is that when you make successful action films, they pay you more money! I don't know about all of you, but getting paid more money for doing the same job seems like good incentive to do action movies. That said, I'd like to get back into character stories and comedies. And I have my heart set on making a movie in Africa.

Q: Do you have DVDs of your own films at home? And what was the last DVD you bought (or made the distributor send you)?

Jon Turteltaub: This question made me laugh because I had to think if I had DVDs of movies that AREN'T my own. I actually have a small DVD library... nothing big. Mostly, I watch DVD's on my laptop when I travel. The last few DVD's I watched were "Singing in the Rain", "Planet Earth", and "There Will Be Blood".

Q: Did you have reactions, critics or comments, from Masonic people having seen the movie(s)?

Jon Turteltaub: We've spoken to quite a few Masons... and everyone we've spoken to has loved the movie. My belief is that the Masons are a wonderful group of charitable people who meet in their beautiful buildings to discuss life and how to make it better. I'm not a big conspiracy theory guy.

Q: Can you let us know of any Easter Eggs to look for on the upcoming DVD or Blu-ray release?

Jon Turteltaub: Oh... they're there. But telling you would ruin all the fun. Then again, it might not be all that much fun for you. Sorry!

Q: The DVD extras are a growing part of the all over experience of watching a film. What is your take on these features? What characterizes great DVD extras?

Jon Turteltaub: I think directors have mixed feelings about the DVD extras. In some ways, our egos love the fact that the movie gets all that extra attention. It makes it look like the movie is "important". On the other hand, I hate having to show outtakes and deleted scenes. There's a reason these scenes were deleted! It's like having a section in your photo album of just pictures with your eyes closed and your chin looking fat.

Q: Considering 911, is it really possible to kidnap the President so easily like in the National Treasure 2?

Jon Turteltaub: Are you asking for personal reasons? Let me know how it goes.

Q: Do you think that National Treasure 2 was more successful than the first film?

Jon Turteltaub: This is actually a very interesting question for me. Not so easy to answer. Certainly, it was more successful financially for the studio. On a personal level, it was more successful for me in that I vowed to get through the movie without getting overly stressed out. The first movie was a nightmare to make... and I wanted to see if I could make a film without making myself crazy... which I did. But in spite of what 90% of what people tell me, and I know I'm probably not supposed to say this to the press, but I thought the first movie was better.

Q: How long did it take for you and the production crew to get the permission to acess all the historical sites shown on the movie?

Jon Turteltaub: This movie was much easier than the first... because on this movie they had already seen the first National Treasure and they knew that we were legitimate and we were celebrating these historical sites, not mocking them. But every location has surprises for a production crew. For instance, the biggest fear the governments had wasn't that we would damage the landmarks... it was that we would interfere with the tourists who had the right to be there as well.

Q: Mount Rushmore was prominently used in 'North by Northwest.' Was it tough to find a new way to use it for an adventure?

Jon Turteltaub: I'm surprised at how rarely anyone asks this question. I went back and watch North by Northwest several times and realized that the sequence on Mt. Rushmore was so remarkable and so well-known that we had to just avoid sending the characters onto the sculpted heads completely. But in doing so, we discovered the lakes nearby and the caves that exist in the area... which led us to the sequences we created for the movie.

Q: What do you think about the comparison made between your movies and Da Vinci Code?

Jon Turteltaub: How do I answer this without getting in trouble? Ummm.... Hmmm... Okay... In many ways, I can see the comparisons. I never read the book, but I did go see the film on opening weekend. Clearly, the overlapping stories of hidden codes and mysteries being kept in famous places is very similar. But what has always made me crazy is the fact that we were first. Our script was written before the book... and yet we get accused of "stealing" their idea. It's very upsetting because too many of us did some amazingly creative work... and made a really good movie... all by ourselves. So, I have to admit that I get a bit cranky when we get compared to Da Vinci Code.

Q: Since the action is such a hallmark of these films - what sequence had you giddy to shoot in Book of Secrets?

Jon Turteltaub: I loved shooting all the final scenes in the water. I'd never done that before and I had no idea how or if it was going to work. But the special effects people did such a brilliant job, along with the set construction people, to make it all possible. It turned out that it's really fun to spend an entire week floating around in a gigantic pool, wearing a wet suit, swimming across the set to talk to the actors, and shouting "action" only to see millions of gallons of water shoot out from the magnificent sets. And the answer to your next question is "no, I didn't pee in the pool".

Q: Nicolas Cage is known to be a great action star, but also a huge dramatic actor. How much does it come to play in the writing process and how fun is it to work with him ?

Jon Turteltaub: Nick is as unique as they come. He approaches his roles the way he approaches his life... with lust, courage, freedom and mischief. But as unpredictable as he is as an actor, he is always fully committed to making things work. In some ways, playing Ben Gates (who is buttoned-up, straight, serious, and nerdy) is more of a stretch for him than playing some of his more outgoing characters. The thing that is so impressive about Nick is that he is always a gentleman. He's a very responsible and polite man. He is never late to the set, always learns his lines, and always treats people with respect.

Q: What's it like to work with Jerry Bruckheimer?

Jon Turteltaub: More than any well-known person I've ever met, Jerry Bruckheimer is the most different than what my expectations were. As a huge movie producer, he is assumed to be a loud, angry monster. But Jerry is actually a very quiet, calm and patient man. He is also extremely supportive of his directors. I've never heard him say a bad word about anyone he's worked with and he always gives credit to others. When it comes to having differences of opinion, Jerry's track record and passion gives a lot of weight to his opinions. I usually say to myself, "What are the odds that I'm right and what are the odds that Jerry's right?" When I look at the big picture, it makes a lot of sense to do what Jerry thinks is best.

Q: I've interviewed Justin Bartha previously when the movie was released and he said we could find a lot of extras on the DVD and Blu-Ray versions. Do the formats have any difference concerning number of extras? Thanks.

Jon Turteltaub: The Blu-Ray version has more extras -- more deleted scenes and a whole interactive feature to use while watching the feature.

Q: On such a huge movie, how much are the actors allowed to improvise, and did you have to manage some rewriting on the fly because of some specific takes?

Jon Turteltaub: With these actors, improvisation is really important. Not necessarily during shooting, however. Sometimes improvisation is misunderstood. Finding new lines and new ways of doing a scene is done during the rehearsals for the scene just before we shoot. Usually, the actors and the crew iron out what we want to do before we roll the camera... otherwise, great moments can get lost. On NT2, we were ALL making things up as we went along. The writers were writing as we were everyone jumped in. The only thing we had to be very careful about was keeping our historical facts straight. That was something we couldn't fake.

Q: I'm writing to you from Kansas. Do you wish that 'Jericho' could continue? It's a shame you didn't get to shoot it here.

Jon Turteltaub: Not only did I want to go to Kansas, but we all really wanted to go to Greensburg (who had a real "Jericho" experience). The cast and crew gathered donations a year ago and sent it off because we felt so connected to the people in that town for some reason. We would love to see "Jericho" continue, mostly because we've all gotten so close to one another and none of us want to move on to different jobs... but that's not going to happen. It's done.

Q: Is it easier or harder do be director *and* producer? Does it take much more effort in the end, or is it more efficient because you don't have to overcome different viewpoints?

Jon Turteltaub: This is one of those tricky questions because every movie works differently. Sometimes, the way things work, the director does a lot of the producing anyway. Other times, the producer runs the show completely and the director focuses just on his own work. When working with Jerry Bruckheimer and his team, they go above and beyond what other producers normally do.

Q: Were you into history as a kid?

Jon Turteltaub: I was a lot more into history than I was into history classes. I don't think any of us like sitting in a classroom when there are other options available. But I did enjoy enjoy history a lot. I've always thought that if I had a time machine that could go either forward in time or back in time, I'd want to go back. I'm always fascinated by what REALLY happened. I'm always interested in understanding how we all got to this point in our lives. What were the mistakes of the past and what were the great decisions? History holds the answers to all our current problems... we just need to learn from it.

Q: What's the hardest part of putting together a movie today? Obviously sequels are harder-- but what challenges are you facing that weren't there say 10 years ago?

Jon Turteltaub: Sequels are actually much easier! If you look at the slate of films coming out of most of the studios, they're all filled with sequels. The marketplace is such that you need to have a big opening weekend, and the best way to do that is to have a movie that audiences already have shown an interest in. The problem is that sequels cost more. That's the biggest issue in the movie business today. Cost. It's stupid how expensive it is. On the other hand, the revolution in digital technology has been a big plus for movies. We can do so much more than ever before to make movies more fun, more entertaining, and more believable.

Q: Besides the writers, do you have a special team of investigators to give the film and the plot a lot of realism?

Jon Turteltaub: The writers definitely do most of the work. However, we definitely need to rely on a wide range of people to keep us on the right track. For the action sequences, break-ins, kidnappings and things like that, we use security and mililtary experts. Often, we'll turn to professional law enforcement or government experts and say to them things like, "We need to kidnap the President, how would YOU do it?" Then, they lay out a plan for us. For the historical information, I rely heavily on the tour guides and park rangers that take us through the locations. In one day I can learn more from the Native American elders who teach at Mt. Rushmore than I can from many of the books I've read.

Q: Is there really a Book of Secrets hidden somewhere in the Library of Congress? Is there really a secret compartment in the desk of the President? Or it's pure fiction?

Jon Turteltaub: Well... Let me put it this way. Our rule was that we wouldn't put anything into the movie that we knew was not true. If we knew there wasn't a Book of Secrets or a secret compartment, we wouldn't have put it in. But I certainly can't prove to you that either exists. Certainly, there have been rumours 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.

Q: On the DVD, I am curious about the choice of Jon Voight as your partner on the commentary? What inspired that? And what could he, as a wily old codger, bring to the discussion?

Jon Turteltaub: I'm not sure if they picked Voight to be my partner, or if they picked me to be his partner. Either way, we had a great time doing it. Jon is actually a very goofy, silly and fun guy. He's often thought of as being very serious, but he's really a sweet and jolly man. He's very smart and has an unbelievable amount of experience and knowledge of the movie business. I loved doing the DVD with him... I'm not sure it's any good... but we had fun doing it.

Q: What's your favorite adventure movie?

Jon Turteltaub: Is "Jaws" an adventure movie? Maybe that's really a "monster movie". What about "The Man Who Would Be King"? That's a treasure hunt adventure. I guess I'd have to say, though, that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is the ultimate adventure movie. I can't see anything wrong with it. It's pretty perfect.

Q: Because you are dealing with a fictional story that involves real events and locations, how much of an obligation do you feel you have to pay to the truth?

Jon Turteltaub: This is really a big issue when making any movie... but particularly difficult when doing the National Treasure movies. Personally, staying true to the history is everything for me. That's the puzzle. How do we take these historical truths and wrap a modern-day fiction around them? 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. I also think that these movies are trying to honor history and encourage people to embrace learning about all of these things. If we make facts up, it feels to me like cheating.

Q: Was Nicolas Cage your first choice as Ben Gates?

Jon Turteltaub: I can't imagine anyone else doing this part.

Q: Can you tell us something about an occurent next episode?

Jon Turteltaub: I can tell you what we're exploring... but not what we're doing. In fact, I can't even tell you that. In fact, I shouldn't be talking to you at all.

Q: Given that we are here to talk about DVD, as well as the films themselves, what commitment does a director now have to make to create a DVD that can enhance the movie experience? What do you want to see in DVDs from other directors?

Jon Turteltaub: It has always been the director's job to oversee the technical transfer of the sound and picture from film to video. But now that the DVD is getting so full and complicated, directors are getting involved in much more. All of the featurettes are submitted to Jerry and I for our notes and approval. We are asked to "host" certain segments. We are very involved in re-editing sequences for promotional scenes or deleted scenes. So there's a lot now for a director to do. The commentary section is always tricky. As a director, I like getting away from the gossipy, fluffy commentaries and use the DVD as a way of talking about filmmaking. But most buyers don't want to hear a director blab on and on about lighting, lenses and film history. They want to know who was kissing whom in the trailers.

Q: What is the best thing about the adventure genre?

Jon Turteltaub: Escape. It's the great escape. It defines what is great and glorious about cinema. You can see great dramatic plays. You can read romantic novels or hear songs about love. But the only way to experience a great adventure story is at the movies. The adventure film takes us to places, times and people in the world we can only imagine seeing in real life.

Q: What's the international response to these movies since they have such a decidedly American perspective?

Jon Turteltaub: The response is great. And I don't understand why that surprises so many people. I don't know anyone who is currently an ancient Roman, but we all loved "Gladiator".

Q: Would you be interested to direct Captain America or any other superhero movie?

Jon Turteltaub: Why? Do you own the rights?

Q: You and Nicolas Cage were high school classmates. What is it like to work with him having already had some history together?

Jon Turteltaub: Working with friends is always a little weird. I think we're all much nicer to strangers than we are to friends. Nick and I were friends in high school, but then we went twenty years without seeing each other. I went off to college and he went off to become an Oscar winning, world-famous actor. But no matter where you go in life, your friends from childhood always see you as the person you were as a child. So, even though we have huge amounts of respect for one another, we also know that deep down we're really just a couple kids who did plays together in high school.

Q: Mr. Turteltaub, which scene do you like the most from National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets?

Jon Turteltaub: I really like watching Nick and Bruce Greenwood together. The scene at the end of the movie was actually an after-thought and a re-shoot... and I love it.

Q: What's next for you?

Jon Turteltaub: I just produced and directed a pilot for CBS for a new series. I'll know in a week whether it's going to get on the air. It's a really unique show that I think people will love. It's a murder-mystery/horror show where each story lasts one season. Then next year, after the cast is dead, we'll do a new horror tale with a new cast and a new location. But the big thing on my plate is another movie with Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicolas Cage, and Disney. We're doing a modern day re-tellling of the story "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". It was inspired by the Mickey Mouse classic from Fanatasia.

Q: Which country would you like to shoot in?

Jon Turteltaub: Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. I'd also like to shoot more in Europe, particularly Italy, but that has less to do with movie making and more to do with fresh cheeses.

Q: You are at your best telling stories about great, true to themselves and kind hearted characters. Would you say it's one of your trademarks, and how important is it to you?

Jon Turteltaub: Thank you... (I think)... but I would agree. I have an attraction to the goodness in movie characters. People who have a joy to them are more interesting to watch. I like when the good guys win.

Q: Have any teachers reacted to the National Treasure films?

Jon Turteltaub: We have had an amazing response from teachers across the world. Many use the films in their classes. 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. The other great response we've gotten is from the historical sites themselves. Attendance is WAY up at the places we featured in the movies. That means that the public is becoming more interested in history... and we're proud of that.

Q: Are filmmakers in Hollywood excited about Blu-ray, given its potential to showcase films at home better than ever before (less compromise of picture and sound, plus no more pan-and-scan horrorshows)? But is that a double-edged sword, because more people might wait to see movies at home instead of in theatres?

Jon Turteltaub: The sword has so many edges these days that no one knows what to do. TV, broadcast, internet, theatrical, downloads, iPhones... it's a mess. Most likely, some of these technologies will succeed and others will disappear. But there's no way to know right now so everyone is tossing out a big net hoping to catch as many opportunities as possible. Blu-Ray was the best format and we're all pretty happy that it won out... that's not always how it works.

Q: Can you talk about the National Treasure 2's digital information, how many production houses were involved, and how was digital work coordinated, etc.?

Jon Turteltaub: 90% of the Visual FX work was done by one company -- Asylum. They're a pretty remarkable house who had been told we would need about 300 fx shots and were given about 700 to do. Due to the overload, a few shots were farmed out to ILM. (Not a bad 2nd choice.)

Q: The real History might look like fiction in your movie (especially bizarre details), and fictional elements might seem real. Did you have problem with this mixture? Knowing that a large part of the public are young people, still at school..?

Jon Turteltaub: I LOVE THIS QUESTION!!!! I can't tell you how many times we have been criticized or attacked for making things up that were actually true! We even had reviewers condemn us for "making a mockery of history by creating stories for our own benefit" that were actually completely true stories. Truth IS stranger than fiction sometimes.

Q: Why do Jerry Bruckheimer movies have a certain look -- lots of quick shots, stylized color palettes...? Is this something he requires or do directors who work with him simply see the value in this manner of filmmaking?

Jon Turteltaub: I'm curious about this myself! When I saw "Crimson Tide" I asked Jerry how he gets that great look. He said, "It isn't me, it's the filmmakers we work with." But when I began working with Jerry, I knew what kinds of imagery he liked... and I also knew what kind of imagery the audiences expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer film. 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.

Q: Will you stick to the adventure genre or are you planning to do some other movies in the near future?

Jon Turteltaub: I don't think any director chooses movies by genre. It's always about story and characters. If the subject matter is compelling, if the story works, and if the characters are real, then there's a movie worth making. That could be a cool James Bond film... or a quiet little drama. Of course, if they want to pay me lots and lots and lots of money, I'm happy to read whatever you've got. (Just kidding.) (No I'm not).

Q: When you are off.. and want to relax, what things do you do? Do you watch films? Do you read a lot? Play sports?

Jon Turteltaub: I have the best activity to do the moment I'm not at work... a new baby! Who knew a little guy like that could be so endlessly entertaining?? It's the most fun I've ever had without having to "win" anything. And whatever time I have left over, after my wife is asleep at 9:00, and after the phone stops ringing, I do what everybody else does.... download internet porn!! (Kidding!) (No I'm not) (YES! I AM!!!)

Thanks to Jon Turteltaub for taking the time to answer all these questions and share so much information with his fans. Check out our reviews of National Treasure and National Treasure 2: Bookof Secrets and go out and buy your own copy to see the special features and extras for yourself!

A Clip from the Featurette: "The Book of Secrets: On Location"

A Clip from National Treasure 2

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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