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Walt Disney Pictures' and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' action-packed "National Treasure:
Book of Secrets" reunites the stars of the blockbuster 2004 film (which amassed a worldwide box
office total of $347,451,894)--NICOLAS CAGE, JON VOIGHT, HARVEY KEITEL, DIANE
KRUGER and JUSTIN BARTHA--along with producer JERRY BRUCKHEIMER and director
JON TURTELTAUB. For this second "National Treasure" adventure, the story expands into a
global adventure and introduces new cast members ED HARRIS and HELEN MIRREN.
For Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage), history isn't just a dry record of what's occurred in a distant
and half-forgotten past…for him, history is alive, vital, and occasionally it offers the possibility of
finding extraordinary treasures. After his astonishing discovery of the riches of the Templar
Knights, Ben has become the world's most famous treasure hunter…although he prefers the term
"treasure protector". In "National Treasure: Book of Secrets", Ben and his father, university
professor Patrick Gates (Jon Voight), are shaken by the discovery of one of the long-lost pages
from the diary of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth. The diary was found on Booth's body when
he was killed; however, several pages had been torn from the diary and have never been found…
until now. Surprisingly, the information on this page seems to implicate their ancestor, Thomas
Gates, as a co-conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln.
Ben must work with his now ex-girlfriend, American history archivist Abigail Chase
(Diane Kruger) and his tech-wiz partner Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) in a globe-trotting adventure
which dangerously criss-crosses the inner sanctums of Washington, D.C., Paris, London and the
American heartland.
As Ben, Patrick, Abigail and Riley meticulously unravel clues which threaten to turn
history, and their lives, completely upside-down, their search for historical truth widens into a hunt
for perhaps the most mysterious and highly guarded book on earth, and from that, to a famed
mythological treasure. Much to Patrick's consternation, Ben calls upon a secret weapon--his
formidable mother and Patrick's ex-wife, linguistics professor Emily Appleton (Helen
Mirren)--who hasn't spoken to Patrick in 32 years. She is soon caught up in the intrigue, but the
team is not alone in its pursuit. The man who brought the lost page to Ben's attention, Mitch
Wilkinson (Ed Harris), has his own family history to uncover. But his ambitions are less noble
than merely discovering treasure, putting him on a deadly collision course with the others in a
desperate effort to uncover the secrets that lie beneath the half-burnt diary page from America's
Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage once again stars as Ben Gates in Walt
Disney Pictures’/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” an all new epic
adventure which combines action, humor, and history in the same successful recipe which made
“National Treasure” such an international box office success in 2004. Cage is joined by two more
Oscar-winning stars, with Jon Voight (“Transformers”) reprising his role as Patrick Gates, Ben’s
irascible father; and Helen Mirren (“The Queen”) as Dr. Emily Appleton, Ben’s mother and
Patrick’s long-estranged wife, who reluctantly becomes swept up in her family’s pursuit of the
Also returning to “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” are Harvey Keitel as FBI Special
Agent Sadusky, whose respect for Ben is tempered by his obligation to arrest him; Diane Kruger as
the beautiful, scholarly Abigail Chase, who shares Ben’s passion for history; and Justin Bartha as
Ben’s hilarious, cyber-savvy partner Riley Poole.
They are joined by four time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris as Mitch Wilkinson,
whose defense of his own family background stands in direct confrontation to the legacy of the
Gates family.
Also appearing in the film is Bruce Greenwood (“Déjà Vu,” “Thirteen Days”) as the
President of the United States, who might hold the key to unlocking the past so aggressively
sought by Ben Gates.
The executive producers of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” are MIKE STENSON,
screenwriters are THE WIBBERLEYS, from a story by GREG POIRIER and THE
The filmmakers have assembled a topflight team of behind-the-scenes artists for “National
Treasure: Book of Secrets,” many of them veterans of either the first “National Treasure” film or
other Jerry Bruckheimer productions, including directors of photography JOHN
SCHWARTZMAN (Oscar nominee for “Seabiscuit,” Jerry Bruckheimer’s productions of “The
Rock,” “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor”) and AMIR MOKRI (Bruckheimer’s “Bad Boys II”
and “Coyote Ugly”), production designer DOMINIC WATKINS (“Bad Boys II,” “United 93”),
costume designer JUDIANNA MAKOVSKY (“National Treasure,” three-time Oscar nominee for
“Pleasantville,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Seabiscuit”), film editors WILLIAM
GOLDENBERG (“National Treasure,” Academy Award nominee for “Seabiscuit” and “The
Insider”) and DAVID RENNIE (“Office Space” and “The Kid”), composer TREVOR RABIN
(music for 10 Bruckheimer films, including “National Treasure,” “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the
State” and “Bad Boys II”), stunt coordinator GEORGE MARSHALL RUGE (“National
Treasure,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), visual effects
supervisors NATHAN McGUINNESS (“National Treasure,” “Black Hawk Down,” Academy
Award nominee for “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”) and MITCHELL S.
DRAIN (“Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”), and Academy Award-winning
special effects supervisor JOHN FRAZIER (“Spider-Man 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At
World’s End,” “Pearl Harbor”).
Nicolas Cage has become one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed actors, an
Academy Award-winner for his memorable role in “Leaving Las Vegas,” for which he also
received Golden Globe and Best Actor awards from numerous film critics associations. “National
Treasure: Book of Secrets” marks yet another collaboration between the actor and producer Jerry
Bruckheimer, following such smash hits as “The Rock,” “Con Air,” Gone in 60 Seconds” and, of
course, “National Treasure.”
Jon Voight has created a gallery of memorable characters throughout his distinguished
screen career, which has spanned nearly four decades. He is remembered for his Oscar-winning
turn in “Coming Home,” as well as for his Academy Award nominated roles in “Midnight
Cowboy,” “Runaway Train” and “Ali.” Just a few of Voight’s other films are “Catch-22,”
“Deliverance,” “Conrack”, “The Rainmaker,” “Transformers” and the Jerry Bruckheimer Films
productions of “Enemy of the State,” “Pearl Harbor,” “National Treasure” and “Glory Road.”
Helen Mirren has won international recognition for performances spanning four decades.
Her role as Queen Elizabeth II in Miramax’s “The Queen,” brought Mirren an Academy Award,
Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and
Critics Choice Award. Her numerous other films have included “The Mosquito Coast,” “Cal” and
“The Madness of King George.” On television, she’s won rave reviews and multiple awards for
her performance as Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect,” including a 2007 Emmy Award.
Harvey Keitel has created some of the most strikingly original characters in contemporary
cinema, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in “The Piano” and Best
Supporting Actor in “Bugsy.” His remarkable work has also been seen in such films as Martin
Scorsese’s “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and “The Last
Temptation of Christ,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction,” among many
Ed Harris is widely acclaimed as one of America’s finest actors, a four time Academy
Award nominee whose films have included “A History of Violence” (which won him the National
Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor), “The Hours,” “Pollock” (which he also
directed), “A Beautiful Mind,” “The Truman Show,” “Apollo 13,” “The Right Stuff” and Jerry
Bruckheimer’s production of “The Rock.”
In 2004, Diane Kruger became an international sensation with her roles as Helen of Troy
alongside Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana in Wolfgang Petersen’s historical epic “Troy,”
and as beautiful and brainy Abigail Chase opposite Nicolas Cage in “National Treasure.” Kruger
has also starred in such international productions as “Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas),” “Frankie,”
“Copying Beethoven,” “Les Brigades du Tigre,” “Goodbye Bafana” and “Spring Break in
Justin Bartha was most recently seen opposite Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica
Parker in “Failure to Launch,” in addition to roles in such films as “Trust the Man” and Sidney
Lumet’s HBO film “Thought Crimes,” as well as the starring role in NBC’s comedy, “Teachers.”
Bruce Greenwood starred as President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in “Thirteen Days,” and
has also won plaudits for his roles in such films as Jerry Bruckheimer’s production of “Déjà Vu,”
“Eight Below,” “Capote” and “The Sweet Hereafter.”
Jon Turteltaub has become a major force in both U.S. films and television with his
versatility and attention to detail. In addition to “National Treasure,” Turteltaub has directed such
diverse feature films as Disney’s “The Kid,” starring Bruce Willis, “Phenomenon,” starring John
Travolta, Robert Duvall and Forest Whitaker, “Cool Runnings” and “While You Were Sleeping,”
starring Sandra Bullock. For television, Turteltaub is the executive producer of the smash CBS
drama “Jericho,” for which he directed the premiere episode. He also directed the seventh episode
of HBO’s multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning series “From the Earth to the Moon.”
Jerry Bruckheimer holds an undisputed position as one of the most successful producers in
both motion pictures and television. First in partnership with Don Simpson, and then as the chief
of Jerry Bruckheimer Films, he has produced an unprecedented string of worldwide smashes,
hugely impacting not only the industry, but mass culture as well. Bruckheimer’s films have
included (producing with Don Simpson) “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Beverly Hills Cop 2,”
“American Gigolo,” “Flashdance,” “Bad Boys,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Crimson Tide,” “The
Rock” and (producing solo) “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Gone in 60
Seconds,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Remember the Titans,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down,”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Bad Boys II,” “Veronica Guerin,”
“King Arthur,” “National Treasure,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of
the Caribbean: At World’s End.”
On television, Jerry Bruckheimer had an unprecedented 10 television series airing in the
2005-6 season, a record in the medium for an individual producer. JBTV’s series have included
“C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” and its spinoffs “C.S.I.: Miami,” “C.S.I.: NY” and “Without a
Trace,” “Cold Case,” and “The Amazing Race.”
Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Television have been honored with 39 Academy Award
nominations, six Oscars, eight Grammy Award nominations, five Grammys, 23 Golden Globe
nominations, four Golden Globes, 69 Emmy nominations, 16 Emmys, 16 People’s Choice
nominations, 11 People’s Choice Awards, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture
of the Decade for “Beverly Hills Cop” and 20 Teen Choice Awards.
It’s always nice to know when hard work is appreciated, and audiences around the world
were definitely sending a message to producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub
when “National Treasure” grossed more than $347 million worldwide upon its release in 2004. In
fact, despite its fervent plunge into American history, the movie made almost exactly the same
amount of money overseas as it did stateside. “I’m always surprised when an audience likes what
we do,” readily admits Bruckheimer. “You know, we make these movies in a kind of vacuum, we
have nobody telling us what’s right and wrong. It all comes from instinct and surrounding
ourselves with talented people. It takes just as much hard work on a picture that doesn’t work for
an audience as one that does, so you’re always pleasantly surprised when they’re excited by a
“I like adventure films that take you to other places, and where you can learn things on the
way, and that’s what ‘National Treasure’ was,” continues the producer. “It was suspenseful,
humorous, had engaging characters and maybe best of all, used American history as a jumping-off
point for a very entertaining film. Audiences love to be entertained, but they also love to learn
“I also love history, and learning about it myself,” adds Bruckheimer. “But you know, just
laying a bunch of historical facts on the screen is going to bore an audience half to death, including
me,” adds Bruckheimer. “So what we had to do to make ‘National Treasure’ a real adventure was
to find facts that audiences might not know much about, make it exciting to discover, and put the
characters in jeopardy. And unfortunately for Ben, Abigail and Riley, they got into a lot of
jeopardy! When the first film opened, some people said that it was a wonderful American movie,
but nobody outside of the U.S. would see it. As it turned out, our foreign box office was the same
as our domestic box office, so it just goes to show that people all over the world responded to the
same thing about ‘National Treasure.’ If you make a fun movie, they will all come.”
Like Bruckheimer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy, “National Treasure” maintained an
across-the-demographic-board appeal to a wide range of moviegoers, from kids to older adults, a
rare and true “family film” in the sense that three generations could watch it together with an equal
sense of fun and entertainment…as opposed to a film for kids, which parents and/or grandparents
have to endure rather than truly enjoy.
Clearly, based upon the public’s enthusiastic response to the first film, audiences wanted
more of the same. And Bruckheimer, as is his tradition, would give them not only more, but better.
Once again, Bruckheimer partnered with director Jon Turteltaub, a filmmaker who brings a rare
gift to contemporary filmmaking: a genuinely charming, unpretentious, light touch, in which he
seamlessly weaves action and adventure with romance and humor in ways which deftly recall such
early elegant ‘60s entertainments as “Charade” and “Topkapi,” albeit laced with 21st century
technology and sensibilities. “What we want to stress in the ‘National Treasure’ movies is that it’s
fun and, in ways that sneak up on you, educational as well,” notes Bruckheimer. Jon is very smart
about keeping action very suspenseful, yet having the humor undercut the suspense. He’s a master
of walking that line.”
The first "National Treasure" film was developed by Jon Turteltaub after hearing the story
idea from Oren Aviv (now President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production) and
Charles Segars, who shared story credit with writer Jim Kouf on the first film. Aviv and Segars
served as Executive Producers of "National Treasure" and "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."
To develop and write the screenplay for “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” the filmmakers
turned to the same tag-team of noted scribes which had worked their magic with the first film: the
story was provided by Gregory Poirier, The Wibberleys and the team of Ted Elliott and Terry
Rossio of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Shrek” and “Aladdin” fame; and then written by Marianne
and Cormac Wibberley. Throughout production, both teams would continue the give-and-take
process, constantly seeking to improve upon what was already on paper, in an innovative, almost
collective fashion which also included contributions from the cast in a true collaboration.
All of the filmmakers were also intrigued by the idea of widening the scope of the second
film beyond the borders of the United States, and into the world beyond. “There are two main
reasons why we have international locations in ‘Book of Secrets,’” says Turteltaub. “The first is
that it opens up the sequel to bigger and broader horizons. The second is that we wanted to see Ben
Gates outside the United States, and see how the histories of France and England connected with
that of America.”
“We sat down with Ted and Terry and hashed the story out over a three week period of
really heavy story meetings,” recalls Cormac Wibberley,” and after Jerry, Jon and Oren approved
the idea, Marianne and I just jumped into the script from there.” While the first film had centered
on the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War period of American history, the nexus
of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” was to be one of the key events of the 19th century: the
Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth. “Jerry,
Chad Oman and Mike Stenson sent us research on the missing pages of the Booth diary,” says
Wibberley. “They wanted to do a story about families and conflict. The launching point was the
idea that Ben and Abigail are at odds, and so are Patrick and his ex-wife Emily. But everyone has
to eventually find a way to work together to find the treasure.”
“As with all Bruckheimer films,” says Cormac, “you have to start with the solid
facts, and we incorporated a lot of those into the script: the assassination of Lincoln, the missing
pages of the Booth diary, the Resolute desks, the historical searches for the so-called ‘Seven Cities
of Gold,’ the creation of the Statue of Liberty, the cellars beneath Mount Vernon, the caves inside
of Mount Rushmore. Adds Marianne Wibberley, “The Book of Secrets in the title could refer to
two things: the lost pages of the Booth diary, or the President’s Book that Ben, Abigail and Riley
are seeking. And although there’s no proof that the Book of Secrets actually exists, it’s one of
those urban legends that refuses to die.”
“There’s a lot more based on historical fact in ‘Book of Secrets’ than in the first film,”
notes executive producer Chad Oman. “You can almost pick any subject from the movie, Google
it, and you’ll find lots of information. There are a few things that we have fun with using artistic
license. What we learned from the first film was that you can teach kids and grownups as well
little bits of history that they didn’t know, and spark an interest. And we wanted to take that further
in the second movie.”
Jon Turteltaub was also excited by the possibilities of where they could take the second
film. “The story begins with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. We found out that when John
Wilkes Booth was hunted down and killed, he had a diary on him which kept a log of everything
that had happened…but it had several pages torn out that were never seen again. And we thought,
well, that’s a good mystery. What was on those pages? What was missing? What was someone
trying to hide? That’s the jumping-off point for the movie.” What follows is a twisting, winding
road filled with clues, ciphers, puzzles which need to be solved by Ben, Abigail, Riley, Patrick,
and, ultimately, Emily. “What’s interesting about ‘National Treasure’ versus a lot of other big
adventure films,” adds Turteltaub, “is that the plot needs to be complicated enough to be up to the
level of the puzzle-solving wits of the lead characters. That’s the fun of it, that’s the journey. And
the audience wants to go on that journey with you. If it’s too simple, then there’s no fun in that.”
Adds Bruckheimer, “What’s exciting about the ‘National Treasure’ movies is that you
have to think to stay with it, and follow the clues. I think that aspect really added to the success of
the first film, and with the terrific cast, wonderful director, fabulous writers and the rest of our
phenomenal troops on the second, we can expect not only more of the same, but even better and
bigger. Jon Turteltaub is a brilliant director who was known more for his comedies than for
adventure films, so he really cut his teeth with the first film. He said ‘Whoa, this is kind of
fun…maybe we should up the ante on the second one,’ and he certainly did.
“What’s key in making a sequel is getting the same talent behind the camera as in front of
the camera,” continues Bruckheimer. “We got Jon Turteltaub and the same writers back to attempt
to make an even better film than the first. Then you’ve got to get the same actors in front of the
camera, and that’s key as well. We did it on the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies, and we’ve done
it again on ‘National Treasure,’ on which both Nicolas Cage and Jon Voight are in sequels for the
first time in their careers. Then we’ve added some exciting new elements, including Helen Mirren
and Ed Harris. Ted and Terry, and the Wibberleys, did a brilliant job in creating this movie’s
Cage and Company Re-Assemble, With Distinguished Additions
Throughout his distinguished career, filled with one smash hit after another, Nicolas Cage
has never starred in a sequel…until “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” But Cage had such a
good time on their first sojourn, that he was happy to take a second plunge as Ben Gates. “I’ve sort
of steered clear of sequels in the past, because I haven’t really liked the idea of repeating myself.
But in this case, I felt that each episode would be a whole new adventure with new possibilities
because of the nature of the character of Ben Gates, who’s sort of an historical detective.
“We had a very good time working on the first one,” Cage confirms. “Martin Sheen once
said to me that all that really matters is whether or not you like the people you’re working with, and
do you like the place in which you’re working. I tend to agree with that.”
Ben Gates was a character who Cage came to not only enjoy playing, but also to some
degree personally identify with, in the first film. “Like Ben, I genuinely do like being around
historical places, places where events have transpired, that have relevance and weight. It’s almost
like you feel you can time travel, and absorb vibrations of the past. I think I have that in common
with Ben Gates, who seems to be very interested in older things, with a past and a dignity of time
attached to them.”
Cage enjoys the dichotomy that lies at the heart of Benjamin Gates. “Ben is an extreme
square in that he doesn’t smoke or drink, and sees things very clearly in terms of what is right and
what isn’t right. The paradox is that he’s a criminal of sorts, but in a good way. He will go the
extra step, take the chance, and steal the Declaration of Independence if need be, or kidnap the
President of the United States if need be, to get done what he feels is right.
And I think that’s
where the humor is in the movie. He’s up for breaking into The White House and Buckingham
Palace, and rifling through Queen Elizabeth’s desk. I think Ben gets a little adrenaline off of that.
And at the same time, he’s sort of this modern day knight, if you will. There is a time to break the
law, and he’s doing it, but making that decision on his own.”
In “National Treasure,” Cage and the filmmakers created an entirely new brand of movie
hero in Ben Gates, a man who prefers to rely more on brains than brawn. “Ben is a kind of
semi-nerd but also cool and noble,” explains screenwriter Marianne Wibberley. “How did it
happen that such an old-fashioned dorky sort of guy became such a hero, and so iconic? Kids
come up to us and say that they love Ben Gates because he’s so smart. The truth is that Nic is the
one who really made that character what he is.”
In fact, the Bruckheimer/Cage connection is one of filmdom’s most successful
collaborations, with “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” the fifth such pairing between producer
and star following “The Rock,” “Con Air,” “Gone in 60 Seconds” and the first “National Treasure”
movie. “Nic is one of our most brilliant actors,” says Bruckheimer, “an Academy Award winner
who can do anything. He can break your heart or make you laugh, depending on his role. He’s
such a gifted actor, and we’re lucky to have this great partnership that keeps drawing him back into
our productions.”
It also didn’t hurt matters that Cage and director Jon Turteltaub have a friendship that dates
back to their time as classmates at high school in Los Angeles, in which they were both friendly
and competitive. “Socially, we were kind of on opposite ends of the tracks,” Turteltaub recalls. “I
was kind of the comfortable, funny kid who liked to be in musicals. Nic was a tough, smart,
brooding, suspicious guy who had this air of rebel about him. We ended up teasing each other
mercilessly in a really warm way. Nic is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known, the
most courageous, the most bold, the least ashamed. You put that in combination with someone
who is not egomaniacal, who is a gentleman, a very kind and soft-spoken person. He rebels and
takes chances with his work and in his life, but never at the expense of another person, and that’s a
really special quality.”
“We were friendly, but there was always this little competitive tension there,” confirms
Cage about his high school years with Turteltaub. “And working together on ‘National Treasure,’
Jon and I have become closer friends than we were in high school. By now there’s a genuine bond,
and I look forward to working with him more and more.”
Jon Voight was also willingly lured into acting in his first sequel with “National Treasure:
Book of Secrets.” Indeed, the role of Patrick in “Book of Secrets” is considerably expanded from
the first film, making the character fully involved in the adventure, and even romance, of the main
plotline. “Patrick is still a hard-working teacher,” Voight explains, “but after finding the Templar
Treasure, maybe he has better shirts. His relationship with Ben is now solid, and they’ve enjoyed
a bit of celebrity, and their lecture schedule is full. But when Mitch Wilkinson brings forth the lost
page from the Booth diary which seems to implicate Patrick’s great-grandfather Thomas Gates, it
threatens the whole family legacy, which kicks off the adventure.”
Also returning to the roost were Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha, who, as Abigail Chase
and Riley Poole, discovered the Templar Treasure with Ben Gates in the first film. “I think the
first film was successful because it took history that everyone has heard of, and put it in a brand
new light of adventure and treasure hunting,” says the German-born Kruger. It was a surprise to
me how successful ‘National Treasure’ was in Europe and the rest of the world because of its
American theme, but I guess treasure hunting goes a long way. I was excited by the idea that the
second film opened up to locations in London and Paris, because everyone in the world can feel
even more involved in the story.
“At the end of the first film, we left Ben and Abigail off falling in love and becoming a
couple, and this one starts with them breaking up,” continues Kruger. Abigail is a curator, so she
considers facts to be more important than assumptions, and I think that’s one of the issues she has
with Ben. She’s more rational and realistic, and a little reluctant to give in and go on a new
treasure hunt.”
Adds Justin Bartha, “I think people really gravitated to ‘National Treasure’ once they met
the characters, who are personable and compelling. In the first film, Ben and Riley were kind of
forced to work together, and didn’t get along all the time. Yet, there was an odd chemistry
between the two of them. Riley isn’t good at things that Ben is good at, and Ben isn’t good at
things that Riley is good at. The central theme of ‘Book of Secrets’ is family, and these two guys
really need each other.”
In the first film, Riley Poole was decidedly a somewhat scruffy soul, in need of a shave and
a decent haircut. In “Book of Secrets,” he’s more polished. “Yeah, that’s what a few million
dollars does to a guy,” smiles Bartha. “My idea was that after finding the Templar Treasure, Riley
spent most of his money on clothes. He got a bit of a makeover, but since he spent a lot of cash,
made some bad investments, and had a run-in with the tax department, he kind of transforms back
into the guy we originally met in the first movie.”
Also returning to “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” as FBI Special Agent Sadusky was
Harvey Keitel, who was to take more opportunity to explore the character of a tough, relentless
G-man who has loyalties both to the law, and Freemasonry.
And then there were the two distinguished newcomers to the “National Treasure: Book of
Secrets” cast. The filmmakers had their fingers (and toes) crossed when they decided to pursue
Dame Helen Mirren, one of the world’s most celebrated and distinguished performers (and a very
recent Academy Award winner as Best Actress for her title role as Elizabeth II in “The Queen”) for
the role of Emily Appleton. “We had been thinking about approaching Helen for quite a while,
just based on her incredible work,” notes executive producer Mike Stenson. “We had wanted to
work with Helen for a long time, but wanted to make sure that when we got our only shot, we had
a fully realized part for her in the ‘Book of Secrets’ script. By the time that happened, it was
literally a week after she won the Academy Award for ‘The Queen,’ so we were submitting the
material to her at the worst possible time in terms of either her having the time to read the script, or
making a deal. But in fact, Helen couldn’t have had less attitude about just having won an Oscar.”
Says Mirren, “I loved the first ‘National Treasure.’ I thought it was smart, very
entertaining, and led people into history in a very lively way, and that’s always a good thing.
Personally, I love historical documentaries because they always push me back into history, and I
thought this was a very fun way of doing that.”
Mirren found the idea of portraying Ben Gates’ mother, Dr. Emily Appleton, more than
engaging because of the character’s intelligence and strength. “Emily is a very high level expert in
deciphering ancient languages, which really fits into the DNA of that particular family, as both
Patrick and Ben are adventuresome types who are obsessed with history. But Emily has resisted
the whole concept of treasure hunting, feeling that it’s a waste of time, energy and money. She’s
hasn’t seen Patrick in the 32 years since they were divorced, and they fall straight into an argument
the minute they have a reunion, as if it all stopped just 30 seconds before.”
Also joining the assemblage was four time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris as Mitch
Wilkinson, as devoted to his family’s history as Ben is to his, although it puts them on an
inexorable collision course. Harris had good reasons to come aboard, as he already had previous
professional associations with several of the film’s key filmmakers and actors. “I watched the
first film with my wife and daughter, and had a really good time,” says the actor. “I had known Jon
Turteltaub from the Sundance Film Festival, having both served as advisors in the festival’s Film
Lab, and I liked him a lot. I’ve always been a fan of Nic’s, and worked with him on “The Rock,”
which of course was produced by Jerry. And Diane Kruger and I worked together on “Copying
Beethoven” a couple of years ago in Hungary. It seemed like a fun job, and an interesting
“Mitch is a kind of black market antiquities dealer who has some experience as a
mercenary,” Harris continues. “He’s a pretty tough guy who knows how to take care of himself.
During the Civil War, Mitch’s family, the Wilkinsons, were staunch Confederates who got
involved with the missing pages of the Booth diary. Mitch is very knowledgeable about history,
like Ben, and has a need to make his mark on history. And if he can find this particular treasure
they’re seeking, I think it not only will fill him with pride, but Mitch will also feel that he will give
his family a legacy which won’t be forgotten. It’s a bit of a cat and mouse thing all the way along
with Ben and Mitch, but there’s also a certain amount of respect that my character has for Gates
because Mitch knows that Ben is very smart and can figure out all these puzzles and decipher
codes. Mitch has to keep Ben alive, so that kind of tension remains between the two characters all
throughout the piece. They actually need each other. In some sense, they’re two sides of the same
Also joining the cast was noted actor Bruce Greenwood, who has essayed a wide range
roles in films and television, including Touchstone Pictures’ and Jerry Bruckheimer’s production
of “Déjà Vu.” In “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” he portrays the President of the United
States, who becomes deeply involved—though not necessarily in a willing fashion—with Ben
Gates’ pursuit of the Book of Secrets and the treasure to which clues within might lead. “In this
movie, it’s not just the mystery that’s being solved,” notes Greenwood. “It’s also those tidbits of
real information about the story of America. It leads to flights of fancy based on these little tidbits,
which I think is a lot of fun. We establish that this President I portray has a background and
particular interest in historical architecture, which Ben knows and then takes advantage of.”
Past Meets Present: The Filming of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”
With all of the variables of motion picture production, one thing was absolutely certain to
the filmmakers of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”…it was to be a huge undertaking, with
major filming in five U.S. states followed by two of Europe’s greatest capitals, and including some
of those three nations’ most profound and iconic—and therefore, difficult to access—locations.
That was set a series of challenges for all involved which merely meant that higher peaks needed to
be climbed and then conquered.
“We never have a dull moment, that’s for sure,” laughs Barry Waldman, the film’s
executive producer/unit production manager, whose long history working with Jerry Bruckheimer
extends to such previous forays as the first “National Treasure,” “Bad Boys” and “Bad Boys II,”
“Pearl Harbor,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Kangaroo Jack,” “Armageddon,” “The Rock” and “Déjà
Vu.” “We don’t set any boundaries for ourselves,” he continues. “Jerry is a great visionary, and
between him and Jon Turteltaub we really strive to do things that have not been done before. From
our standpoint, our job is to turn those script pages into reality, and it makes you set your goals
really high. On Jerry Bruckheimer films, we don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
The first of the four months of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” filming began in
March 2007 in Los Angeles, beginning with the interior and exterior of a South Pasadena house
which doubled as Patrick Gates’ Washington, D.C. area residence for both the first and second
“National Treasure” films.
That relatively small scale was soon to increase with production designer Dominic
Watkins’ impressive exterior re-creation of Washington on the night of April 14th, 1865…the
fateful evening in which Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. “That was a great deal of work,” says
supervising art director Drew Boughton of the task facing his, as well as Fainche MacCarthy’s set
decoration departments, to convert “New York Street” on the Universal Studios backlot into an
authentic replica of the nation’s capitol more than 140 years ago. “At that time, Washington was a
relatively young city, and it still had something of the feeling of a Western town. We brought in
dirt to cover the streets, actual gas lighting, horses, carriages as well as period signage and
decorations for the buildings.”
With the addition of Judianna Makovsky’s detailed and authentic costumes for actors and
some 300 background players, the atmospheric set truly took on a life of its own, with soldiers in
Union uniforms, civilians waving sparklers in celebration of war’s end, a plethora of top hats and
bonnets, gas lamps imparting their magical glow to the darkened streets, and fireworks
illuminating all from high above.
On Universal Studios soundstages, Watkins, Boughton, MacCarthy and their attendant
departments then created a tavern in which John Wilkes Booth and co-conspirator Michael
McLaughlen approach Ben Gates’ great-great grandfather Thomas and his son Charles: an
establishment redolent of period atmosphere, right down to the yellowing newspaper clippings
pasted to the wall behind the bar, framed portraits of former U.S. presidents and vintage prints,
liquor bottles and weaponry mounted on the walls. Again, flickering candle and gaslight reminded
all of a world before electricity was harnessed and over-illuminated everything in its wake, where
there were still shadows and mystery.
In fact, so immersed was the “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” company in history, that
each day’s company call sheet carried a special “This Day in History” feature, listing three
important events which took place through the centuries. “By the end of this movie,” quipped one
burly crew member, “I can quit movies and become a history teacher.”
On another Universal soundstage, Watkins created a nearly perfect replica of the West
Wing of The White House, including the Oval Office. It’s here where we see one of the two
so-called “Resolute Desks,” key elements of the film and the story which hold crucial clues for
Ben Gates in his search for treasure and, even more importantly, vindication for his ancestor
Thomas Gates. Recalls Jon Turteltaub, “While we were developing the story, we came across the
amazing tale of a British ship called the Resolute, which while searching for the English explorer
Sir John Franklin became stuck in the Arctic ice. Later, it was found by an American fishing ship,
and the U.S. government bought the ship, refitted it and presented it to Queen Victoria in 1856.
“After 20 years of distinguished service,” Turteltaub continues, “the ship was
decommissioned and Queen Victoria then had two desks made from its keel as a token of peace,
one slightly different from the other. One she kept for herself in Buckingham Palace, and the other
she presented to President Rutherford B. Hayes, and was then used by every U.S. president except
Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. There’s a famous photo of little John-John
Kennedy playing under the desk while his father works in the Oval Office.”
For “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” a company specializing in replicating antiques
was commissioned to create both versions of the Resolute Desk, virtually indistinguishable from
the real desks.
Shooting then shifted to the famed 1926 Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, “portraying”
Ben and Abigail’s post-Templar Treasure house, from which he’s departing after their breakup.
On to the Nation’s Capitol: Filming in Washington, D.C.
Heading to the nation’s capitol in late March ’07, Bruckheimer, Turteltaub and company
sought to take advantage of an even wider range of Washington locations than it had for the first
“National Treasure,” including some of the most iconic locales in a deeply iconic city. A scene
between Nicolas Cage and Harvey Keitel shot at the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol Building,
filmed on the first day of D.C. shooting—drew hundreds of onlookers. Another scene featuring
Cage, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha, shot just across the street from The White
House near Lafayette Park, came with its own draconian rules.
“We wanted to shoot in front of The White House,” recalls Turteltaub. “The street is run
by the City of Washington, D.C., the sidewalk is run by the Parks Department and The White
House by the Secret Service. Standing on the sidewalk? No! Working in the street? No problem.
In the middle of filming the scene, the Secret Service came out and said ‘Sorry, but you’ll all have
to leave for an hour.’ Why? ‘Because President Bush is coming outside to make an address to the
press corps, and you have to go to the other side of Lafayette Park.’
“So we all left, went to the other side of Lafayette Park, waited until the President finished
his responsibilities, came back and finished our scene. But in fact, everyone in Washington was
amazingly cooperative in helping us get what we needed.”
Meanwhile, Mother Nature was cooperating by putting the famed cherry blossoms into full
bloom during the film’s shoot. “There is very little wrong with Washington to begin with,” adds
Turteltaub, “and we got lucky. When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the city takes on a whole
other character, with beautiful, sparkly, white and pink flowers.” The director was sure to take
excellent advantage of the blossoms as a backdrop, and the enormous crowds that descended upon
the city at the same time were more than delighted to discover that in addition to some of the
world’s greatest sights, they could also watch a major movie being made.
“There are two major points you have to deal with in shooting such important locations in
Washington,” continues Turteltaub. “One is, of course, security; and secondly is that by shooting
a film in such places, we weren’t ruining the experience for anyone else who was there. We
always had to find a way to do what we needed to do while still allowing the tourists, educators and
kids to enjoy themselves. The thing that the authorities don’t quite understand, though, is that
when all the tourists, educators and kids show up, they seem far more interested in seeing Nic Cage
than they are in seeing the Lincoln Memorial! So actually, I think we made the day a little more
interesting for many of these people, except the ones who were visiting from Hollywood!”
The majority of filming in Washington actually took place inside of the Library of
Congress’ Jefferson Building, a stunning Victorian construct which first opened its doors to the
public on November 1st, 1897, and found itself as a primary location for “National Treasure: Book
of Secrets” 110 years later. Most of the filming took place inside of the magnificent Main Reading
Room, from the floor to its 160 foot high domed ceiling, where a gigantic helium lighting balloon
was devised to rise all the way up to the cupola, thereby giving Turteltaub the light necessary for
filming during the all-night shooting (the days were retained for the benefit of the public).
“As far as I’m concerned,” states Turteltaub,” “maybe the most London and the Library of
Congress. Americans don’t know how extraordinary this building is. You walk in there and
realize that this is a true, extraordinary treasure, dedicated to education, knowledge and history.
It’s a statement that enlightenment, education, justice and fair government is the center of what we
aspire to. It seems to say that without a library, without knowledge, we’re useless.
“That nobility, that majesty is something that ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ is
trying to maintain, that there’s something grand out there that we need to honor, and within it and
underneath it, in the details, are the human lives that built it, and that’s where all of the flaws, great
achievement and mysteries lie.”
With the permission of the Library authorities, production designer Dominic Watkins
designed and had built a special addition…the President’s Library, in which Ben, Abigail and
Riley search for the Book of Secrets itself. “We were allowed to build a set within the building, on
the balconies above the Main Reading Room,” notes supervising art director Drew Boughton.
“Essentially, we created another section of the library. We made our own bookshelves, and
brought in all of our books. It was very challenging, because when working with a national
monument there are, of course, a lot of rules and restrictions, and we took great care to observe
them all.”
Scenes inside of the Jefferson Building were also shot in the very aptly named Great Hall,
with its gleaming marble floor, 75-foot-high ceiling and two grand staircases. More prosaically,
the extraordinary buildings in the world are St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Paul’s in e company was also
permitted to shoot in the very bowels of the building, through tunnels, hallways and the Rube
Goldberg-esque machinery which carries the books from the stacks beneath to the Main Reading
Room above.
Another D.C. area which played itself was the beautiful campus of the University of
Maryland in College Park. In the film, Dr. Emily Appleton, portrayed by Helen Mirren, is the head
of the university’s Linguistics Department (although Mirren shot all of her scenes in interior sets in
Los Angeles), and the company utilized both the school’s McKeldin Library for interiors
recreating The White House Press Secretary’s office, and its impressive quad just outside of
Holzapfel Hall as locations. One sudden and unexpected problem arose when a sudden and
unexpected early April snowstorm dumped a couple of inches of pure white onto that very quad
overnight…and so, while shooting commenced inside of the library, the film’s greens crew
hurriedly dispensed with the accumulated flakes, leaving the grass as green as a sweet spring
day…but the lightly costumed Cage, Voight, Kruger and Bartha doing their utmost to make it
seem as if the biting 40 degree Fahrenheit chill had no effect on their performances!
Considering the first film’s examination of the remarkable history of Freemasonry and its
connection to America’s Founding Fathers, it was poetic justice that an important scene—Ben and
Patrick Gates’ lecture on the Civil War and their first encounter with Mitch Wilkinson—was
filmed at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. George Washington
actually belonged to the Alexandria Lodge, and the current Memorial, inspired by the classical
architecture of Greece and Rome, was opened by President Herbert Hoover in 1932.
lore and the Knights Templar were the backdrop of the first movie,” notes executive producer
Mike Stenson, “so we were always on the lookout for any kind of Masonic influences in the Civil
War period, and we found several.” The connection with George Washington was to run even
deeper with what might have been the film’s most extraordinary location in the Washington
area…the President’s home of Mount Vernon, on the Potomac River in Virginia.
Jerry Bruckheimer is justifiably famous for shooting in difficult-to-access locations, but
the rare sites secured for “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” really tipped the scales. Operated
by a remarkable organization called The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union (which
rescued the house and its glorious grounds from deterioration in 1858 and now preserves it in
splendid condition, as well as brand new, state-of-the-art museums in a gleaming visitor’s center),
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens permitted the “National Treasure: Book
of Secrets” company to film just off of the front portico of the house for two full nights in
Washington’s home, first built in 1752, was later expanded and remodeled several times by
America’s first President, resulting in a masterpiece of dignified architecture and restrained beauty.
The lawn in front of the mansion, which sweeps down toward the Potomac, served as the location
for an elegant birthday party for the film’s President, portrayed by Bruce Greenwood…a party
crashed by Ben Gates, a man on a definite mission. In addition to a large celebratory sign on the
lawn, the film’s art department also created a party tent with elegant appointments and flower
arrangements within. “We wanted the same kind of Tiffany blue tent that was used by Jacqueline
Kennedy when she threw a birthday party for JFK at Mount Vernon,” notes set decorator Fainche
MacCarthy. “For the China and stemware, we used some of the same Washington catering
companies that work on major political events and parties.”
“We wanted to film at Mount Vernon for the first movie, and couldn’t figure out why,”
recalls Jon Turteltaub. “For this one, we knew why. Mount Vernon is an iconic landmark in
American history, and house is stunning. By today’s standards, it’s probably smaller than half the
houses in Beverly Hills, but it’s a lot more beautiful.”
“We actually very much admired the first ‘National Treasure’ film,” says James C. Rees,
Executive Director of Mount Vernon, “and people we talked to said that it brought history alive to
them. It also had millions of viewers, and that’s important to us, because we don’t just want to
appeal to the million of people who come to Mount Vernon…we want to reach out to all those
people who might not have a chance to come to Mount Vernon, and we think ‘Book of Secrets’
will do that.”
The company of the film seemed genuinely awestruck to be literally working in the shadow
of George and Martha Washington’s beautiful domicile, so much that even the chilly rain which
pelted cast, crew and background players couldn’t dampen their spirits. “It was about 28 degrees in
the middle of the night, with lots of background players in spaghetti strap gowns,” recalls Bruce
Greenwood. “They were the real heroes those nights!”
More National Treasures in South Dakota
After filming more cool nights on the Potomac River, a mere stone’s throw from Mount
Vernon (for scenes requiring both boats and helicopters)—and a final, ferociously windy and rainy
night filming the exterior of the Library of Congress’s Jefferson Building—the “Book of Secrets”
company boarded a charter flight and headed westward for South Dakota, on locations which
would be a startling contrast to the urban beauties of Washington, D.C. Just as the work in the
capitol was a plunge into the nation’s past, South Dakota took the company back even further…to
its pre-contact, Native roots, which figures prominently in the story of the film, and imbues the
very landscapes on which the shooting took place with a spiritual element which defies simple
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a world-famous, truly monumental sculpture of
four Presidential figures—Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt—carved by
the almost supernaturally driven John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum into the gigantic granite face
of a looming mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. From the commencement of drilling in
1927, until his death in 1941, Gutzon Borglum and his team of 400 daredevil artists created a work
which surpassed even the Great Sphinx of Giza in scale and ambition.
The National Memorial is a work of unquestioned greatness, but that’s only part of the
story. Mount Rushmore is just one peak in the Black Hills, sacred to the Lakota and other
American Indian people for thousands of years. To the Lakota, the Black Hills are “Paha Sapa,”
their axis mundi, the center of the world. For many native people over the years, the sculptures on
Mount Rushmore have represented not a triumph of democracy, but a painful reminder of the
absorption of their lands by the United States after gold was discovered in the Black Hills. Now, in
an attempt to reconcile the two great cultures, the National Parks Service appointed Gerard Baker
as the first American Indian Superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. “What my
position represents in my mind is the opportunity to tell both sides of the story,” says
Superintendent Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa who proudly lives in both the traditional and modern
worlds. “Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt all did good things for this country in the
first 150 years of its history. But there were also some very negative Indian policies as well, and
we’re taking the challenge of telling that story too. Not to put the blame on anybody, but to get the
story out for future generations, so they’ll understand that happened so that the same mistakes
won’t be repeated. We now can start the healing process, through education and cultural
Like James Rees of Mount Vernon, Superintendent Baker welcomed the presence of
“National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” “It brings in awareness,” he states, “not only to the world
public who will see the movie, but also to the actors and crew from the film. We were approached
by the filmmakers in a very knowledgeable and respectful way. They understood that they were
asking to film in a sacred area.”
In fact, by request of the production, Superintendent Baker and his associate and friend
Ranger Darrell Martin, Assistant Chief of Interpretation at Mount Rushmore National Memorial,
performed a traditional Indian blessing ceremony for all assembled—including stars Nicolas Cage,
Jon Voight, Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha—before the camera first rolled at Mount Rushmore on
the morning of April 20th. Martin, a member of the Gros Ventre Tribe of Montana noted for his
kindness and vast historical knowledge, would tragically and suddenly pass away the following
week, leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of his colleagues in the National Park Service and the
members of the “Book of Secrets” company who had befriended him in that short span of time.
Remarkably, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” was to be the first major non-fiction
feature film to shoot an important sequence at Mount Rushmore since Alfred Hitchcock brought
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and the “North By Northwest” production crew to the Black Hills for
just two days in September 1958. Using nearby Rapid City as a base of operations, the company
filmed on a wide range of locations, with a full week’s work not only at Mount Rushmore, but also
in the nearby Black Hills location of Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. For one sequence, which
matches the filming in Sylvan Lake, stunt coordinator George Marshall Ruge put stunt doubles on
a 150 foot cliff in the Black Hills for aerial shots. “They had to climb the peak, so it took us about
three hours to get all six doubles up there, and rigged them with safety wires. The only way up was
straight up, and the only way down was straight down.”
Looking back, the cast and crew of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” were deeply
affected by their experiences working in South Dakota, although filming there had only lasted for
two weeks. “The Black Hills were unique to me,” recalls Nicolas Cage. “They were very, very
special because it’s Native American sacred ground. I found it uniquely beautiful, and still
something of a secret. I don’t think people realize how beautiful that is in our own back yard. And
it definitely inspired the performances, being in those places. It gave us all a little boost.”
“Never having been to Mount Rushmore, it was really exciting to be there and experience
something I had only seen in photos and in films,” says Jerry Bruckheimer. “That’s one of the real
joys of moviemaking.”
Adds Jon Turteltaub, “With all of the amazing places we went, the least likely suspect
became our favorite. We all fell in love with South Dakota. It’s spectacularly beautiful, the people
were gentle and embracing, and there’s an enormous amount of culture there. The past is very
present in South Dakota, and by going there and shooting at Mount Rushmore we started to feel
much more about what the stone was before it was carved into American faces. What meaning
does this landscape have to people? And we tried, as best we could in small ways, to start letting
that seep into the storytelling and the moviemaking.”
“I loved South Dakota,” adds Helen Mirren. “I loved the people, the landscape and the
wildlife. It’s a really extraordinary part of the world. When we were there, we were looking at
each other saying, ‘Do you realize how lucky we are? Isn’t this the best job in the world, to be here
in this incredible landscape shooting a fun film?’
Back to Los Angeles and What Hollywood Does Best
After the company’s sojourns to the East Coast and South Dakota, it was time to return to
Los Angeles for the Hollywood magicians to weave their sorcery, devising hugely scaled sets and
devices for the film’s complex, climactic action-adventure sequences. “We built these enormous
sets in Los Angeles, upping our ante by making this picture bigger and more exciting than the first
one,” notes Jerry Bruckheimer. “Every time you walked onto one of these sets, you realized the
artistry of the technicians in Hollywood, and this art that they’ve passed down since the beginning
of film.”
Starting the second phase of its L.A. shoot, the company initially converted several
“practical” locations into appropriate environments for the story, including the conversion of the
bowels of downtown L.A.’s famed Biltmore Hotel into security areas beneath Buckingham Palace,
and the vintage 1940 design of the F.E. Weymouth Treatment Plant of the Metropolitan Water
District System in La Verne, California, into a high-tech conservation lab where Ben, Abigail and
Riley examine the lost page from the Booth diary.
Also filmed during this stage of production was a sequence taking place on the White
House lawn during the annual Easter Egg Roll. Hordes of children in holiday dress, replete with
baskets and bunny ears, assembled on a large grassy area at the Huntington Hartford Gardens in
San Marino, California, which was backed by a 24 foot tall by 180 foot wide blue screen which
would be transformed in the post-production process by visual effects supervisors Nathan
McGuinness and Mitchell S. Drain by the President’s domicile. “In the old days this would have
been done with a traditional matte painting on glass with a locked-off camera,” notes Drain.
“Today, we have the technology to allow us to move the camera around and match those
movements in the computer, so that we get a fully three-dimensional perspective of The White
House.” Not that any of the kids working that day minded that the President’s residence wasn’t
actually there…they were more interested in getting Nicolas Cage’s autograph at the end of the
work day, and he was only too happy to oblige them.
“National Treasure: Book of Secrets” required McGuinness, Drain and their huge team of
artists, programmers and technicians to call upon the full range of present technology to create
numerous images, including digital enhancements, model work and other magic. “The lion’s
share of the visual effects work is set extension,” notes Drain. “We’re also re-arranging some
landscapes, such as giving off the illusion that there’s a lake behind Mount Rushmore. If we do
our job well, people who see the movie will be scratching their heads when they go to South
Dakota and find out that it isn’t actually there!”
On Stage 2 of The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, production designer Dominic Watkins
and his team constructed not only a faithful recreation of the wine cellar beneath Mount Vernon,
but more fancifully, imagined secret catacombs and tunnels that spiral off from that, replete with
fabricated but absolutely convincing twisted branches and cobwebs to give them the real patina of
age. “The people at Mount Vernon allowed us to take photographs of the wine cellar, and I think
we did a pretty good job of reproducing the character of that beautiful place,” notes supervising art
director Drew Boughton. We then imagined that George Washington might have had a secret
escape route to save his family if they came under attack during the Revolutionary War, so we
designed and created tunnels with the technology of the late 18th century. It was a lot of fun
thinking up what that might be, and what mechanics might be involved.”
It was also on Disney’s Stage 2 where the first of a series of cavern sets was designed and
constructed. This entranceway, and the adjoining cavern called “the map room” by Dominic
Watkins, reveals the wonders of a pre-Columbian civilization of great sophistication, filled with
complex mechanisms which present one perilous challenge after another to the film’s treasure
hunters. The beautiful and intricate designs in the caverns represent an intentional pastiche of
well known pre-contact cultures. “We were looking for a civilization that conceivably could have
been even more advanced than the ancient Egyptians at about the same time period,” notes Drew
Boughton, “which could have migrated from Central to North America. For much of the design,
we settled on the Olmec culture, which predated the Mayans.”
A large stone wheel which allows entry into the cavern is designed and constructed with a
period counterweight system turning an axle, allowing the door to roll back and forth. “We based
this on various examples of ancient engineering,” says Boughton, “some as old as 3000 years, with
the use of wood beams, lifts and winches.” The intricate glyph designs were hand fashioned by
several talented art department sculptors from Styrofoam, which was then sprayed with concrete
and suitably aged.
Stage 12 at Universal Studios—the humongous space which housed the massive Singapore
set for “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”—was called into service yet again, this time to
contain two separate cavern sets for “Book of Secrets.” The smaller of the two was the Balance
Chamber, which contains a platform pivoted in a central point and supported by vines on four
ends…kind of a seesaw from hell, on which, according to Jerry Bruckheimer, “the characters have
to position themselves on the platform so it doesn’t tip over, each character having to
counterweigh the other. It’s a very exciting action sequence in which they could all die if they
don’t work as a team.”
The balance platform was a collaboration of Dominic Watkins’ art department and
Academy Award-winning special effects supervisor John Frazier’s department. The
acknowledged master of motion bases (also known as gimbals) developed especially for film,
Frazier’s previous collaborations with Jerry Bruckheimer included “Pearl Harbor” and “Pirates of
the Caribbean: At World’s End,” for which he designed and constructed the motion bases for the
full-sized replicas of both the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman in the climactic Maelstrom sea
battle…the most elaborate and complex such gimbals ever developed.
Keeping the action flowing in the U.S. portion of the “Book of Secrets” shoot was George
Marshall Ruge, who had already devoted his skills and energies to two of the most successful
trilogies of all time, “The Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” as well as the first
“National Treasure.” The balance platform sequence was just one of the king-size action tasks
facing Ruge, and one which really called into play not only his facility with stunts, but his
background in choreography as well. “The balance platform was, I think, pretty unique and
different,” explains Ruge. “What I liked about it was that there was a whole chess game of players,
and it forces all of the characters to bond together, whether they want to or not, to get off the slab.
The physicality of working on that set, which can move in any direction possible, and
choreographing that event with the actors safely, was a bit of a challenge.
“We didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time, because the sets were still being built and painted,”
continues Ruge, “so once we got in there we got a couple of days to really work things out and get
our sea legs. But once everybody was on it, it came together fairly quickly. Working out the
logistics of the beats was the most difficult process, but it worked out remarkably well. The
operator of the beam did a great job, because when you have human beings on that thing, the
movements have to be exact.
The larger set occupying Stage 12 was the grandest cavern of all, Dominic Watkins’ piece
de resistance, built inside of a 140,000 gallon pit with four submergible pumps. The set included
six ports which spewed 1100 gallons of water per minute onto all of the film’s stars participating in
the climactic sequences. “These are the biggest sets I’ve ever been on,” says Helen Mirren, “and
it’s sensational. The attention to detail, and accuracy of the art department is fantastic.”
“These are the best sets I’ve ever been on, let alone shot on,” affirms Jon Turteltaub.
“They’re extraordinarily huge, they’re beautiful, they’re practical, you can go anywhere on them
and shoot. From artist rendering to miniature models to framework to final sets, it was amazing to
see Dom Watkins’ work happen so quickly. I still don’t know why it takes a year and a half to put
an on ramp on the freeway when we were able to build an entire underground city in about eight
“Also, people think that special effects are just laser guns and spaceships, but John Frazier
and Jim Schwalm are the guys doing the actual physical effects on set…making things explode,
making it rain, making sure it’s dusty when you look at an old book. What a fantastic job these
guys did, making you believe that you are in a remarkable cave with an undiscovered piece of
Native American history that you can believe is actually there.”
Another mammoth set that heavily relied on practical water effects was the so-called
“sparkling cavern,” constructed at a height of 40 feet around truss and grid framing above the tank
at Falls Lake on the Universal Studios backlot. The set, also imbued with numerous
pre-Columbian design elements, contained three massive waterfalls, and took nine weeks to build
(although months to plan). An elaborate pumping system was devised to bring the needed water
up from the tank, and then back again. “In the world of special effects, nobody ever wants to do
the same thing twice,” says Frazier. “We needed to create the illusion that the water in the
‘sparkling cavern’ set was pooling down into a pit 100 feet deep, which we actually built at a depth
of four feet. The water pouring down from the three spouts is supposed to look absolutely solid,
and there’s not enough water in the California Aqueduct to do this job. So what we did was to
create the illusion of that much water. We actually made the water hollow, had spinning heads
which churned up the water, and fogged up the spouts. It’s just a simple trick, but even with that
we still needed to pump 45,000 gallons of water per minute.”
Another set at Falls Lake was what was referred to as the “stone room”—or more
forbiddingly, the “drowning room”—an oblong construction which, when surrounded with a
sturdy metal frame, was then lowered into and raised from the tank by a 100-foot-tall crane, to
promote the effect of the room filling with water. The entire tank was tented in to prevent natural
light from permeating the set, as it’s meant to be deep below the earth’s surface. For a solid week
at the end of the U.S. portion of “Book of Secrets” filming, Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Helen
Mirren, Ed Harris, Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha were all drenched to the bone day in and out
while filming the stone room sequence.
“Some of the action scenes are more fun than others,” admits Diane Kruger. “It sounds like
a great idea to set an entire scene in a drowning room with water up to your ears, and it’s sort of fun
for a day…but then you’re over it after a week. “We almost drowned in the drowning room,”
recalls Justin Bartha, “and some of us were getting sick because we were working in the water all
day and, sometimes, all night. It was actually pretty harrowing, but nothing we couldn’t handle.”
“I like the physical stuff,” admits Jon Voight. “In the role of Patrick Gates, I try to diminish
my physicality, playing a fellow who’s been a schoolteacher all his life and is addiction to books
and learning. But being a Gates, there’s the soul of an adventurer in him too, and I’ve had fun with
the derring-do.”
London and Paris: Palaces, Car Chases and Spilled Beer
“In the first film,” says Jerry Bruckheimer, “the clues were all around us. But in this movie,
the clues are all around the world.”
The internationalization of “National Treasure” came to fruition as the company departed
U.S. shores and headed for a month of filming in and around London, with a sidebar trip to Paris,
expanding the geographic horizons of the story as well as exploring the intersecting warp and
weave of American, British and French history.
Two major sequences were set for filming in Great Britain: Ben, Abigail and Riley’s
incursion into the sanctum sanctorum of Buckingham Palace so that Gates can examine the
Queen’s version of the Resolute Desk for clues; and what might be the biggest and most elaborate
car chase scene ever shot on the streets of London.
Bruckheimer and Turteltaub began with the “easier” scene first, and with the real
Buckingham Palace obviously off-limits for reasons of privacy and security, the filmmakers
secured the next best thing: Lancaster House, a truly resplendent palace in its own right, literally a
stone’s throw from its more famous neighbor, and just next door to St James Palace, which houses
Prince Charles and his sons. Lancaster House was commissioned in 1825 by the Duke of York,
and when the Duke passed on, the lease was purchased by the Marquess of Stafford, whose family
occupied the house from 1829 until 1913. It was then bought by Lord Leverhulme, a Lancastrian,
and its name changed its current appellation. Lancaster House is now operated by the Foreign &
Commonwealth Office, and is utilized for elegant functions, and the occasional film.
The mansion, built of Bath stone in the Corinthian style, is relatively austere on the outside,
but the interior—where the “Book of Secrets” company filmed—is quite ornate and decorative,
mainly in Louis XIV style with a marvelous collection of paintings and objets d’art. A corner
room on the second floor was converted by Dominic Watkins, UK supervising art director Gary
Freeman, set decorator Fainche MacCarthy and propmasters Ritchie Kremer (U.S.) and David
Balfour (U.K.) into Queen Elizabeth II’s study with appropriate furnishings, decorations and
However, scenes with Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha outside the
gates of Buckingham Palace were actually permitted by the authorities, and shot by Turteltaub on
a brilliant Friday morning in early August. “The way we look at it,” says Turteltaub, “you just
have to keep asking and keep pushing to get on these locations. And when it’s done, you end up
with beautiful representations of all these great places the world has to offer. There’s no point in
faking it when the real thing looks so good.
The majority of the London shoot, however, was devoted to a rip-roaring, gut-clenching,
street-clearing car chase scene across a great swath of the city, which presented a kaleidoscope of
hurdles for the company to overcome, creatively and technically. “We knew how logistically
challenging it would be to film in London,” notes executive producer/unit production manager
Barry Waldman, “and at one point even considered other countries in Europe which we could
double for London and make it a little easier. But this is a movie in which Jerry Bruckheimer and
Jon Turteltaub mandated that we would shoot only on actual locations. It just takes time to prepare,
and the challenges are enormous. We decided to film the car chase mostly on weekends so that it
would have the least amount of impact to the public. But we have two full film units shooting the
chase simultaneously, which is a big undertaking for the London police.
“I have to say that the authorities have been great,” continues Waldman. “We were
respectful of their boundaries, but we’re filmmakers, so we get paid to push the boundaries. Jerry
and Jon are filmmakers who like to do ‘firsts,’ and that’s what we attempted to do in London.”
“I hadn’t seen a London car chase in a movie for a long time,” says Turteltaub. “It’s always
fun to watch a car scene set in an interesting place, and it’s not just the cars, it’s where the cars are
driving, and who’s driving them. We thought it would be cool to see Nic as Ben Gates driving a
car where the steering wheel’s on the opposite side of what he’s used to, and being chased by
vehicles which are part of the London cityscape. We didn’t intend for the scene to be the car chase
to end all car chases—it’s not a movie about cars—but we hope it’s exciting and humorous.”
The primary vehicles involved in the chase are a brand-new Mercedes-Benz 280C
“C-Class” (which hadn’t been on the market as of yet when the sequence was shot), a Land Rover,
a Fuller’s London Pride beer truck, a London taxicab, a distinctive red double-decker bus, several
London police cars and others caught in the mayhem.
Consider the possibilities.
The filmmakers certainly did, carefully planning, writing and pre-visualizing the sequence,
and then turning it over to a crack team headed by U.K. stunt coordinator Steve Dent and a cadre of
fantastic stunt drivers to actually pull it off, with two full shooting units all over the streets of
London. “We believe it’s the biggest chase and largest number of stunt people called into London
for years,” says Dent. The preparation of the car chase was meticulous, from conception to
execution. “We rehearsed everything as much as we possibly could,” notes Dent, “working off of
the pre-visualizations that were sent to us from the States. Rehearsals are important, especially
when you shoot in a city like London, because you’ve got a certain amount of time to lock off
traffic, and on a lot of streets you can’t lock off at all, so everyone has to know exactly where
they’re starting and finishing.”
There was very little faking the high speeds at which the vehicles were driven. “Very fast
driving through cars and pedestrians,” says Dent. “One slip, and that’s it, it’s all over. Because of
the rain we’d been having, a lot of the surfaces were very slippery.”
A highlight of the chase sequence, simultaneously harrowing and hilarious, is when a
Fuller’s London Pride beer truck loses its precious cargo of some 160 kegs. “It was very
spectacular to watch all of those kegs drop off the truck and explode through shop windows and
phone boxes,” says Dent. The authentic looking kegs were actually fabricated by the U.K. prop
department from a foam and fiberglass mixture, lightweight and filled with a beer-like substance.
An air-release mechanism developed by U.K. special effects coordinator Neil Corbould
appropriately called a “Harvey Wallbanger” then fired the beer kegs from the cab.
The car chase scene took advantage of some remarkable locations, including Cleveland
Row, just next door to St. James Palace; Bank junction, one of the busiest in London, and shut
down for a day of filming; and the narrow, picturesque Birchin and Finch Lanes in “The City,” the
old financial district, both re-decorated with signage and faux storefronts by the British art
department, only to be plunged into chaos by the fast-moving vehicles roaring down the alleyways;
and Southwark Bridge, spanning the Thames, where the chase finally comes to an unexpected
The filmmakers not only relied on the expertise of the stunt team, but also on such new
technologies as the “Top Rig,” a contraption actually mounted on the roof of the Mercedes-Benz
C-Class vehicle which allowed famed British driver Ben Collins the ability to do the actual driving,
while Turteltaub and cinematographer John Schwartzman shot Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger and
Justin Bartha inside of the vehicle performing dialogue.
Nonetheless, Cage did a surprising amount of actual driving during the sequence. “I like to
drive, but driving on the other side is complicated,” says the actor. “It’s definitely not something I
recommend without spending some time first getting comfortable with.” Adds Justin Bartha,
“Nic’s driving is pretty fantastic. He’s done a few car movies, and he knows his stuff.” Diane
Kruger found the car chase sequence “not scary, but fun, sort of like going on an amusement park
Bruckheimer, Turteltaub and company also shot parts of the chase on the historic grounds
of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, with several of its grand and baroque buildings
doubling for similar edifices in London, with the judicious addition of the distinctive Underground
signs, red phone boxes and other art department “improvements.”
Further enhancing the international expansion of “National Treasure,” the company took a
brief respite from the car chase by boarding the high-speed Eurostar and zooming to Paris for some
key sequences with Nicolas Cage and Justin Bartha filmed on the Pont du Bir-Hakeim and nearby
Pont du Grenelle, two bridges which straddle the Seine nearly in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
“It’s hard to make an ugly movie in Paris,” laughs Jon Turteltaub. “On our first morning
there, our cinematographer John Schwartzman came to me while I was looking for the right shot
and said ‘Jon, don’t worry, there is no bad shot here.’ There’s something about Paris that brings
out the artist in you, that makes you want to live up to the French aesthetic. Bir-Hakeim is not one
of the most famous bridges in Paris, but it is if you’re a film fan, because Marlon Brando stands on
that bridge in the opening scene of “Last Tango in Paris.”
For the key Paris scene, Ben and Riley, on the trail of clues, fly a miniature, remote-control
helicopter equipped with a video camera mount all around the scaled-down replica of the Statue of
Liberty which is mounted upon the tiny Allee des Cygnes (“Walkway of the Swans”). This
version, intended as a design study of the larger and better known monument, was inaugurated at
the site in 1889, three years after its more famous cousin was erected in New York City. It was a
gift of the French community living in the United States to celebrate the centennial of the French
Revolution, and the book which the statue holds in its left hand is inscribed with dates which
simultaneously recognize American Independence Day and Bastille Day. In reality, as in the film,
the statue is a reminder of the close historical ties between the United States and France, closely
intertwined from the nation’s birth pangs.
For their brief time in Paris, the U.S. and British crew who made the trip reveled in their too
brief memories. “Little things are different,” notes Turteltaub, “like going to crew lunch and
seeing everything beautifully laid out on tables, including bottles of wine. And you sit there
thinking, wow, Parisians really have it made. We had a great time.”
Returning to London for three final days of principal photography, a sequence intended to
be filmed in the Georgetown district of Washington, D.C., but delayed due to a combination of
Easter and bad weather, wound up being shot in the tony Primrose Hill district of London, an
almost perfect match with similarly charming old architecture.
Closing the Book
With 97 days of filming over a four month period covering a wide geographic area behind
them, the company had some time to reflect on the experience…although for Jerry Bruckheimer
and Jon Turteltaub, much of the work was ahead of them in a punishing post-production period, in
they would oversee the editing, final sound, extensive visual effects and musical score by Trevor
Rabin, who composed the alternately stirring and propulsive music for the first film.
“Getting to work with Jon Voight, Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha again was definitely like
going back down memory lane and seeing old friends,” notes Nicolas Cage. “Except, there’s more
of an ease to it this time. We all know each other’s quirks and rhythms, and we know when things
are going to get hot or not, or silly or not. It’s just easy. Ed Harris gives so much reality to the
characters he plays, that he’ll make anything work. And Helen Mirren, of course, so hot off of her
success with “The Queen,” and you couldn’t work with a more down to earth, humble person
considering the brilliance that she puts into her performances.”
“Jon is original, brilliant and romantic, and that’s why the film has all of those elements,”
notes Jon Voight. “He has a great sense of story, great joie de vivre, who never says a discouraging
word. He’s always up and playful. He’s really funny in terms of his take on life, and there’s
humor about all of our characters too. You don’t find too many pictures nowadays with charm,
but that’s what Jon brings to the movie.”
“If possible, it was more fun the second time around,” says Diane Kruger. “There’s a lot
less searching around to get the right tone. Everybody seemed to be on the same wavelength. Jon
is a very thorough director who knows what he’s doing, and he’s also fun to hang out with.”
Confirms Justin Bartha, “I don’t think anyone else can direct these films except Jon. The guy is so
smart and so talented, with such a grip on everything at play, I’ve never really met a director like
The company was particularly glad to welcome Helen Mirren to their family, particularly
since she displayed nothing but unending enthusiasm and excitement for the project, and tore into
the adventure and romance of the piece with the same fervor with which she approaches the
classical roles which have made her one of the world’s most honored performers.
“You know, I won an Oscar as “The Queen,” so I expected to be treated with respect when
I came on the set of ‘Book of Secrets,’” says Mirren jokingly. “Instead, they hung me from wires,
made me swing across abysses, covered me with dirt, dunked me in filthy, dirty water…and I had
the best time of my life!
“Everyone was so nice to me, and I think a bit of fresh blood is always a good thing, you
you’ve spent hours and hours with each other. A new face on the block is always kind of fun. I
have to say that Nicolas is totally divine, and right from the moment I met him, he was incredibly
welcoming. Jon kept us laughing all of the time with his wit and enormous energy, which is what
you need to put this kind of material on the screen. And he has the ability to think on his feet,
which is a really difficult thing to do when you have such a technically heavy film with huge sets
and an enormous crew. The ability that Jon has to be light with the material is really quite a
magician’s trick.”
For Turteltaub and many others in the cast and crew, working on a Jerry Bruckheimer
movie was a gratifying repeat experience. “Jerry is brilliant and is extremely focused on very
specific things,” says the director. “He’s the biggest advocate of artistic creativity that I’ve ever
worked with. Jerry loves bringing in talented people. He doesn’t chase box office stars, he chases
talent, and wants you to bring out the best in those people. And boy, he has a better sense of ‘the
audience’ than anyone else, ever. They’re not the judging panel for the Oscars, they’re just people
going to the movies, and he wants you to give them a great night out.”
Adds Nicolas Cage, of his fifth go-round with the producer, “Working with Jerry, it’s
miraculous how it all happens. He creates a spontaneous environment in which you can’t help but
search into the deepest part of your creative energy to find a solution to every issue. It’s like jazz.
Everyone starts coming up with ideas at the spur of the moment that are very fresh and electric. On
Jerry’s movies, you’re on a high wire without a net, and every time something good comes out of it.
What’s what keeps me coming back, and I’d like to think that’s what keeps Jerry coming back to
“Jerry is the producer of our day,” adds Jon Voight, who has worked with Bruckheimer on
three previous projects. “He’s like the movie moguls of the past, but he’s a very down-to-earth,
good man. Jerry is very hands-on in some ways, but on the other hand, he lets the creative process
happen. His attitude is go in, do it, and let’s have some fun.”
Affirms Justin Bartha, “Jerry has such an eye and ear for quality in his films. He knows
exactly what he wants, what the audience wants, and if you do not get that, then he will shoot until
you do. That’s why, when you look at his track record, it’s pretty much flawless…because he has
his finger on the pulse of what’s entertaining, and what an audience wants to see.” Adds Diane
Kruger, “’Book of Secrets’ is the kind of movie that Jerry does best. It feels like we’re surrounded
by a group of filmmakers who work all of the time, and know exactly what they’re doing. You feel
safe with them.”
“As an actor on a Jerry Bruckheimer film, you feel very well taken care of in every way,”
says Helen Mirren. “You’re treated with respect, and your life is made as comfortable as it can
possibly can. There’s a high level of professionalism on the set from everybody. And then you
walk onto a stage with huge sets that are fantastic to work with. Inside of every actor is a little
child’s heart that finds these things incredibly exciting.”
Would Dame Helen want to do another “National Treasure” film? “Definitely,” she
responds with a laugh. “Sign me up!”
“It’s always about the characters,” concludes Jerry Bruckheimer. “Since we have a very
exciting plot, and you’ve already fallen in love with the characters from the first movie, now we’re
bringing them back in a much more adventurous situation. What’s wonderful about this movie is
that it’s for everybody. It’s intelligent, but your kid can still understand what’s going on, and it’s
one of those pictures that, at Christmastime, the whole family can go to after dinner, buy their
popcorn, sit there for a couple of hours and be really entertained.
“And when they walk out, they’ll ask questions about the story, and about the history that
the story is based on. I think we’re teaching them something, and at the same time taking them on
a ride that’s fun and challenging.”
Academy Award-winner NICOLAS CAGE (Ben Gates), one of the most versatile actors of all
time, is equally well known for his poignant portrayals in both drama and comedy. “National
Treasure: Book of Secrets” represents Cage’s fifth collaboration with producer Jerry Bruckheimer
following “The Rock,” “Con Air,” “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “National Treasure.” His
memorable performance as an alcoholic drinking himself to death in the MGM drama “Leaving
Las Vegas,” directed by Mike Figgis, earned him an Academy Award. He also received a Golden
Globe and Best Actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics
Association, the Chicago Film Critics and the National Board of Review. Cage further solidified
his leading man status when he received Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild,
and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations for his dual role as twin
brothers Charlie and Donald Kaufman in Spike Jonze’s quirky comedy “Adaptation,” which
co-starred Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper.
Most recently, Cage portrayed Johnny Blaze in “Ghost Rider,” based on the Marvel Comics
character, directed and written by Mark Steven Johnson. The film immediately set a new record as
the highest-grossing opener for the Presidents Day weekend. Cage’s other recent starring roles
have been in Neil LaBute’s “The Wicker Man,” Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” Gore
Verbinski’s “The Weather Man” and Andrew Niccol’s “Lord of War.” He was also heard as the
voice of Zoc in the animated film “The Ant Bully.” Cage was last seen in Lee Tamahori’s sci-fi
thriller “Next,” and the Pang Brothers’ action drama “Bangkok Dangerous.”
At the end of 2002, Cage released his feature film directorial debut, “Sonny.” Cage cast an
impressive group of actors, including Golden Globe winner James Franco, Mena Suvari, Brenda
Blethyn and Harry Dean Stanton. The film was accepted into the 2002 Deauville Film
Festival. Golden Circle Films, Vortex Pictures and Cage’s Saturn Films produced the picture.
Cage’s production company, Saturn Films, produced the 2002 Universal Pictures film “The
Life of David Gale,” and, in 2000, the critically acclaimed Lions Gate film, “Shadow of a
Cage’s many other films include “Matchstick Men,” “Windtalkers,” “Captain Corelli’s
Mandolin,” “The Family Man,” “Bring Out the Dead,” “Eight Millimeter,” “Snake Eyes,” “City of
Angels,” “Face Off,” “Guarding Tess,” “Red Rock West,” “It Could Happen to You,” “Kiss of
Death,” “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “Valley Girl,” “The Cotton Club,” “Racing with the Moon,”
“The Boy in Blue,” “Peggy Sue Got Married,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Raising Arizona,”
“Vampire’s Kiss” and “Fire Birds.” It was Cage’s portrayal of a tormented Vietnam vet in “Birdy”
that first established him as a serious actor. Directed by Alan Parker, “Birdy” won the jury prize at
Cannes. Cage then received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor for his role as Cher’s lover
in “Moonstruck.” David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart,” starring Cage and Laura Dern, won the Palme
d’Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.
Some of Cage’s other honors include a Golden Globe nomination for his role in
“Honeymoon in Vegas,” the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montreal World
Film Festival, and the first ever Distinguished Decade in Film Award at ShoWest.
Cage was raised in Long Beach, California and lived there until his family moved to San
Francisco when he was 12. Cage began acting at age 15 when he enrolled in San Francisco’s
American Conservatory Theatre when he appeared in the school’s production of “Golden
Boy.” He later moved to Los Angeles, and while still a high school student landed a role in the
television film “The Best of Times.” He made his feature film debut in “Rumble Fish.”
JON VOIGHT (Patrick Gates) has now been a motion picture star for nearly four decades.
Still remembered for his performance as Joe Buck in the classic “Midnight Cowboy,” which
brought his first Academy Award nomination, as well as his Oscar-winning turn as Luke Martin in
“Coming Home,” Voight has forged a career in which he successfully transitioned from leading
man to one of America’s most versatile character actors.
Since creating the role of Patrick Gates in “National Treasure” in 2004, Voight has starred
in the title role of CBS’ telefilm “Pope John Paul II,” famed basketball coach Adolph Rupp in the
Jerry Bruckheimer production of “Glory Road,” and recent roles in the period drama “September
Dawn,” the New York-based policy “Pride and Glory,” the Michael Bay science fiction epic
“Transformers” and the supernatural drama “The Uninvited.”
Voight’s other work in recent years has included his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Howard
Cosell in Michael Mann’s “Ali,” his role as Mr. Sir in the popular and critically acclaimed Andrew
Davis feature film “Holes,” based on the Newberry Award winning novel of the same name,
playing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Jerry Bruckheimer’s production of “Pearl
Harbor,” and starring opposite Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep in Jonathan Demme’s “The
Manchurian Candidate.”
Voight’s career has been filled with honors, including his third of four Oscar nominations
for Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Runaway Train,” Golden Globe Awards for “Runaway Train” and
“Coming Home,” and further nominations for “Ali,” “The Rainmaker,” the television film “The
Last of His Tribe” (for which he won a CableACE Award), “The Champ,” “Deliverance” and
“Midnight Cowboy” (for which Voight also won a Most Promising Newcomer Golden Globe). He
won the New York Film Critics Award twice for “Midnight Cowboy” and “Coming Home,” the
National Society of Film Critics Award for “Midnight Cowboy,” the Los Angeles Film Critics
Association and Cannes Film Festival Best Actor awards for “Coming Home,” and received
Emmy Award nominations for both “Pope John Paul II” and “Uprising.”
Voight’s voluminous feature film credits have also included “Zoolander,” “Lara Croft:
Tomb Raider” (opposite his daughter, Angelina Jolie), “A Dog of Flanders,” “Varsity Blues,” the
Bruckheimer production of “Enemy of the State,” “U-Turn,” “Anaconda,” “Rosewood,” “Mission:
Impossible,” “Heat,” “The Odessa File,” “Conrack,” “The Revolutionary” and “Catch-22.”
Voight made his Broadway debut in “The Sound of Music.” In 1966 he starred opposite
Robert Duvall in the acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge.” He later
starred in Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
On television, Voight has also starred in “Jasper, Texas,” “The Five People You Meet in
Heaven,” “Second String,” “Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story,” “Noah’s Ark,” “Return to
Lonesome Dove” and “Chernobyl: The Final Warning.” He made his directorial debut with the
Showtime cable movie “The Tin Soldier,” which won several awards, including Best Children’s
Film at the Berlin Film Festival.
HARVEY KEITEL (Agent Sadusky) has twice been nominated for an Academy Award
for Best Actor in Jane Campion’s “The Piano” and for Best Supporting Actor in Barry Levinson’s
“Bugsy.” Throughout his career, he has created some of the most strikingly unique characters in
modern cinema.
A Brooklyn native, Keitel trained extensively on stage before he was cast by Martin
Scorsese in “Who’s That Knocking at My Door?” in 1968. This led to leading roles in Scorsese’s
films “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” establishing him as
a leading star of his generation. Keitel went on to work with Ridley Scott (“The Duellists”),
Bertrand Tavernier (“Deathwatch”), Robert Altman (“Buffalo Bill and the Indians”), Brian De
Palma (“Wise Guys”), Alan Rudolph (“Welcome to L.A.”) and Nicolas Roeg (“Bad Timing: A
Sensual Obsession”). He then took memorable roles in such films as Tony Richardson’s “The
Border,” Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “The Two Jakes,” Ridley Scott’s “Thelma
and Louise,” “Sister Act,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” (which he also co-produced),
“The Bad Lieutenant,” Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “From Dusk Til Dawn,” “Smoke,” “Cop
Land,” “U-571,” “Red Dragon,” “Be Cool” and “The Shadow Dancer,” among others.
As a producer, Keitel’s credits include “Blue in the Face,” “Three Seasons,” “Dreaming of
Julia,” “The Grey Zone” and “The Beautiful Country.”
ED HARRIS (Mitch Wilkinson) Ed Harris’ newest project, currently lensing in
New Mexico, is the feature film Appaloosa, co-starring Renee Zellweger and Viggo Mortensen.
Harris, who co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Knott, is the film’s director and is a producer. Set
in 1882, the film revolves around two lawmen hired to bring order to Appaloosa, a dusty town
suffering at the hands of a renegade rancher. The arrival of an attractive, beguiling widow disrupts
their plans. It is based on the classic novel by Robert B. Parker.
Harris has completed filming opposite Nicholas Cage on National Treasure 2, due out this
holiday season, and opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller The Cleaner, due out early next year.
He currently co-stars in Gone, Baby, Gone, the cricitally-lauded directorial debut of
screenwriter/actor Ben Affleck, based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).
In 2006, Ed Harris starred on screen in the title role of Agnieska Holland’s Copying
Beethoven. The film was Harris’ third feature film collaboration with director Holland. He also
starred on stage in Neil LaBute’s one character play, Wrecks, at New York’s Public Theater.. The
play marked Wrecks’ U.S. debut, with Harris reprising the role he created for its world premiere in
Ireland at the Everymen Palace Theatre.
In 2005, Harris co-starred with Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg’s critically
acclaimed A History of Violence. His performance earned him a National Society of Film Critics
Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He also starred in 2005 with Paul Newman in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, based on
Richard Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and directed by Fred Schepisi. He was nominated
for a SAG Award, Golden Globe and Emmy, all as Best Actor, for that performance.
In 2003, Harris earned his fourth Academy Awards nomination, a Golden Globe
nomination, a Screen Actors Guild nomination, and a BAFTA nomination as Best Supporting
Actor for his performance in Stephen Daldry’s The Hours. Previously, he earned an Academy
Award nomination for Best Actor for Pollock, his widely acclaimed directorial debut. The film
co-starred Marcia Gay Harden, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Harris’ other film credits include Winter Passing, Radio, The Human Stain, Buffalo
Soldiers, A Beautiful Mind, Stepmom, The Truman Show (for which he received an Academy
Award nomination and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor), Apollo 13 (for which he
was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and for which he won the Screen
Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor), The Right Stuff, A Flash of Green, Walker, The
Third Miracle, Alamo Bay, Places in the Heart, Sweet Dreams, Jacknife, State of Grace, and The
His television credits include The Last Innocent Man, Running Mates, Paris Trout, and
Riders of the Purple Sage (for which he and his wife Amy Madigan, as co-producers and co-stars
of the film, were presented with the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Outstanding Television
Feature Film).
Harris starred on stage in the 1996 Broadway premiere of Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides. He
made his New York stage debut in Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, for which he earned an Obie
Award as Outstanding Actor. For his performance in the Broadway production of George Furth’s
“Precious Sons,” he won the 1985-86 Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actor. His other stage
credits include Prairie Avenue, Scar, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Grapes of Wrath, Sweet Bird
of Youth, and Simpatico, for which he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor.
DIANE KRUGER returns to her role as Abigail Chase in “National Treasure: Book of
Secrets.” She made her international screen debut in 2004 as the legendary Helen in Wolfgang
Petersen’s epic, “Troy.” Starring alongside Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, Kruger played the
woman whose face launched a thousand ships in the decade-long war between the kingdoms of
Greece and Troy. Eric Bana, Rose Byrne, Peter O’Toole and Julie Christie also starred in the
highly successful film.
Fluent in English, German and French, Kruger has recently distinguished herself in a series
of starring roles in notable international films. She recently starred in Richard Shepard’s thriller
“Spring Break in Bosnia” with Richard Gere and Terrence Howard, as well as noted Quebecois
director Denys Arcand’s “The Age of Darkness.” In South Africa, Kruger starred alongside
Joseph Fiennes and Dennis Haysbert in Bille August’s “Goodbye Bafana,” which recently
premiered at the 57th Berlin Film Festival. The film is based on the true story of a white South
African racist whose life is profoundly altered by the black prisoner he guarded for 20 years,
Nelson Mandela.
Kruger was honored at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival with the Chopard Trophy for Female
Revelation of the Year. In May of this year, Kruger served as master of ceremonies at the 60th
Cannes Film Festival, welcoming president Stephen Frears and his jury onto the stage of the Palais
des Festivals and hosted the closing ceremonies on May 27th.
Kruger also starred in “The Tiger’s Brigade,” a French film set in 1912 about the exploits
of France’s first motorized police brigade, as well as in Agnieszka Holland’s “Copying
Beethoven,” which concerned the relationship that developed between Ludwig van Beethoven (Ed
Harris) and his copyist (Kruger) as he was completing his Ninth Symphony. “Frankie,” the story
of a catwalk model’s decline and fall, premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in August 2005.
The film, directed by Fabienne Berthaud, stars Kruger as Frankie, the model who is trying to
valiantly forestall the inevitable fall of her modeling career. Kruger also served as a co-producer
on this French film.
In 2005, Kruger also starred in “Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)” for director Christian
Clarion. Filmed in Romania, France and Germany in three different languages, “Joyeux Noel” is
set during World War I and is based on a true story about a truce reached on Christmas Eve.
Kruger played one half of a famous German opera duo who is reunited with her husband on
Christmas Eve in order to sing for the Crown Prince of Germany. She performed the role in her
native German language. “Joyeux Noel” received its world premiere at the 2005 Cannes Film
Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics in November 2005. The movie was
nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a Golden Globe Award in the
same category, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award, and three Cesar
Awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars).
In addition to “National Treasure” and “Troy,” Kruger was also seen in 2004 opposite Josh
Hartnett in the MGM/Lakeshore Entertainment thriller “Wicker Park,” directed by Paul
McGuigan. The previous year, she starred for French director Cedric Klapisch in his noir thriller
“Ni Pour, Ni Contre.”
Born in Germany, Kruger first studied dance with London’s Royal Ballet. She then moved
to Paris to become a model and study acting, achieving international fame in the former while
taking classes at the Ecole Fleuron, eventually winning the school’s Classe Libre award for Best
Actor. Kruger also lived for many years in New York City.
Kruger recently finished filming “Mr Nobody” in Montreal and Germany. This
film stars Sarah Polley, Jared Leto and Rhys Ifans and is directed by Jaco Van Dormael (‘Toto Le
Hero’). She has just started working on a new film called, “Pour Elle.”
Kruger currently resides in Paris.
JUSTIN BARTHA once again portrays Riley Poole in “National Treasure: Book of
Secreets.” Bartha was most recently seen starring in “Failure to Launch” for producer Scott Rudin,
opposite Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker. The film was released by Paramount
Prior to that, he was in “Trust the Man,” opposite Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup and
Maggie Gyllenhaal. Directed by Bart Freundlich, the drama held its world premiere at the 2005
Toronto Film Festival. Bartha also starred in Sidney Lumet’s “Thought Crimes,” an HBO film
produced by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson.
He also garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of the psychologically challenged
younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor in Martin Brest’s “Gigli,” opposite Ben Affleck,
Jennifer Lopez and Christopher Walken.
Bartha also starred as the title character in the NBC mid-season comedy, “Teachers,”
directed by James Burrows.
Next up, Bartha will star opposite “Cesar” winning actress Melanie Laurant in the
whimsical romance “Shoe at Your Foot” from first time director Jennifer Devoldere due out next
He trained at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Bartha grew up outside
Detroit, Michigan and currently resides in New York City.
Dame HELEN MIRREN (Emily Appleton) has won international recognition for
performances spanning four decades.
For her role as Queen Elizabeth II in Miramax’s “The Queen,” Mirren won an Academy
Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, British Academy of Film and Television Arts
(BAFTA) and Critics Choice Award. In addition, she was named Best Actress by every critic’s
organization from Los Angeles to London. At the Venice Film Festival she won the Volpi Cup for
Best Actress and received a five-minute standing ovation for her performance after the film’s
Mirren has also received significant recognition for two other performances she filmed in
the same year as “The Queen.” For HBO, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in the miniseries
“Elizabeth I.” She won an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award for that role. The two-part
series explored the queen’s public and private life late in her reign. Mirren also reprised her
long-running character Detective Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect: The Final Act,” the last
installment in the PBS series. The performance earned her an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe
nomination. She had already received one Emmy and three BAFTA’s for the role in previous
Mirren began her career at the National Youth Theatre and joined the Royal Shakespeare
Company in 1967, starring in such productions as “Troilus and Cressida” and as Lady Macbeth in
“Macbeth.” She later toured the world with the renowned director Peter Brook’s theatre company.
Her breakthrough film role was in John Mackenzie’s “The Long Good Friday” as the tough but
sexy mistress to Bob Hoskins’ volatile gangster character. Critics hailed her as a major new screen
Soon after, Mirren won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and was
nominated for a BAFTA for Neil Jordan’s “Cal.” She continued to push boundaries in Peter
Weir’s “The Mosquito Coast,” Peter Greenaway’s “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her
Lover,” Charles Sturridge’s “Where Angels Fear to Tread” and Terry George’s “Some Mother’s
Son,” which she also co-produced.
In 1995 Mirren won a second Best Actress Award at Cannes for her work in Nicholas
Hytner’s “The Madness of King George.” The role earned her nominations for an Oscar and a
BAFTA Award. They were just the first of many such recognitions.
For Kevin Bacon’s “Losing Chase,” Mirren won a Golden Globe Award. For Christopher
Menaul’s “The Passion of Ayn Rand,” she won Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG nominations. For
Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park,” she won a SAG, Critics Choice and New York Film Critics
Circle Award and was nominated for the Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards.
Mirren received SAG, Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the television movies
“Door to Door” and “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.” Her other film credits include Sean
Penn’s “The Pledge,” Garry Marshall’s “Raising Helen” and Lee Daniels’ “Calendar Girls.”
Mirren’s most recent screen role is in Iain Softley’s “Inkheart,” based on Cornelia Funke’s popular
fantasy novel, and she followed her work on “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” by starring with
Brad Pitt, Rachel McAdams, Edward Norton and Robin Wright Penn in Kevin McDonald’s “State
of Play.”
On the stage, she has given equally successful performances, appearing in “Teeth ‘n
Smiles” at the Royal Court, “The Seagull” at the Lyric and Arthur Miller’s “Two-Way Mirror.”
Mirren’s Broadway debut came in 1995 with “A Month in the Country,” for which she earned a
Tony nomination. A second Tony nod came in 2002, when she played opposite Sir Ian McKellen
in “The Dance of Death.” She most recently starred in “Mourning Becomes Electra” at the
National Theatre, which brought her a nomination for an Olivier Best Actress Award.
Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003. She is married to filmmaker Taylor
Hackford. They spend their time in London, New York and Los Angeles.
BRUCE GREENWOOD (The President) starred as John F. Kennedy in the feature film
“Thirteen Days” and has appeared in numerous pictures, excelling in both independent and
mainstream films. Among his credits are Jerry Bruckheimer’s production of “Déjà Vu,” “Eight
Below,” “Racing Stripes,” “I Robot,” “Capote,” “Hollywood Homicide,” “Below,” “Being Julia”,
“Rules of Engagement,” “Double Jeopardy,” “Father’s Day” “The Lost Son”, and “Passenger 57,”
to name a few. He has also starred for director Atom Egoyan in three internationally acclaimed
films, “Ararat,” “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Exotica.”
Born in Canada, Greenwood graduated from high school in Zurich, Switzerland. He won a
1995 Gemini Award in Canada for his television performance in “Road to Avonlea,” a Gemini
nomination for “The Little Kidnappers” and another Genie nomination for his work in Atom
Egoyan’s “Exotica.” His breakthrough role was as a regular star of the popular “St. Elsewhere”
series, playing Dr. Seth Griffin during the 1986-88 seasons.
Greenwood studied at the University of British Columbia and the American Academy of
Dramatic Arts in New York.
As one of the most talented directors in Hollywood, JON TURTELTAUB
(Director/Producer) has been able to capture audiences’ attention with his warm, funny, and
emotional films.
Turteltaub returns as director on "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" upon the success of
the first film which grossed an unexpected $350 million in boxoffice receipts
worldwide. “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” continues the fantastical tale of treasure-hunter
Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) who re-teams with a beautiful archivist (Kruger) to uncover the
truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, which they believe lies within the 18 pages
missing from assassin John Wilkes Booth’s diary.
Always with an eye towards story, character and humor, Turteltaub has directed all eight
of his studio feature films for The Walt Disney Company, including the 2000 hit “The Kid”
starring Bruce Willis. Written by Audrey Wells, “The Kid” is the story of an egocentric man who
is visited by himself as an 8-year-old. The movie also starred Emily Mortimer, Jean Smart and
Lily Tomlin.
In 1999, Turteltaub directed the Touchstone Pictures’ release, “Instinct,” starring Anthony
Hopkins, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Donald Sutherland and Maura Tierney.
Prior to that, Turteltaub directed John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Forest Whitaker and Kyra
Sedgwick in the blockbuster hit, “Phenomenon,” which ranked as one of the highest grossing films
of 1996.
In 1993, he directed the surprise hit comedy, “Cool Runnings,” which was Disney’s
highest grossing live-action film for the year. Two years later he directed "While You Were
Sleeping", the break-out romantic comedy that helped launch Sandra Bullock to stardom. His first
film for Disney was 1992's "3 Ninjas" which, shockingly, was the studio's most profitable film of
the year.
Based on these credits, it's clear that "surprise hit" is the trademark of Turteltaub's
career. Jon's dream is that one day his successes won't be considered a surprise.
On the small screen, Turteltaub made his television series producing and directing debut
with the highly acclaimed CBS drama “Jericho,” which stars Skeet Ulrich. The primetime show
centers around a nuclear explosion that plunges the residents of a small, peaceful Kansas town into
chaos, leaving them completely isolated and wondering if they are the only Americans left
alive. "Jericho" will return for a second season in 2008.
Recently, Turteltaub and his production company, Junction Entertainment, entered into a
multiyear overall arrangement with CBS Paramount Network TV to create, develop and produce
drama, comedy and reality series for the studio.
In 1998, Turteltaub made an essential contribution to one of the most significant and
critically acclaimed television mini-series in history, “From the Earth to the Moon.” The 10-part
HBO dramatic series featured different stories surrounding the American expeditions to the
moon. Turteltaub directed the seventh episode of the mini-series, entitled “That’s All There Is,”
which portrayed the camaraderie of the crew of Apollo 12. Turteltaub was nominated by the DGA
for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television for his efforts, and the series
received 10 Emmy Awards and the Golden Globe Award for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture
Made for Television.
Born in New York City and raised in Beverly Hills, Turteltaub got his BA at Wesleyan
University in Connecticut and received his Masters degree at the USC Film School. His father,
Saul Turteltaub, is an iconic television producer with credits on such memorable shows as
“Sanford & Son,” “What’s Happening,” “That Girl” and “Love American Style.”
Turteltaub currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and newborn son.
Great stories, well told. They can be for audiences in darkened movie theatres or home
living rooms. They can feature great movie stars or introduce new talent. They can be true
adventure, broad comedy, heartbreaking tragedy, epic history, joyous romance or searing drama.
They can be set in the distant or recent past, an only-imagined future or a familiar present.
Whatever their elements, though, if they begin with a lightning bolt, they are stories being told by
JERRY BRUCKHEIMER (Producer), and they will be great stories, well told.
The numbers—of dollars and honors—are a matter of often-reported record.
Bruckheimer’s films have earned worldwide revenues of over $15 billion inbox office, video and
recording receipts. In the 2005-6 seasons he had a record-breaking 10 series on network television,
a feat unprecedented in nearly 60 years of television history. His films—16 of which have grossed
over$100-million domestically—have been acknowledged with 39 Academy Award nominations,
six Oscars, 23 Golden Globe nominations, four Golden Globes, 69Emmy Award nominations, 16
Emmys, 16 People’s Choice nominations, 11 People’s Choice Awards, 11 BAFTA nominations,
two BAFTA awards, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for
“Beverly Hills Cop,” and 20 Teen Choice Awards.
But the numbers exist only because of Bruckheimer’s uncanny ability to find the stories
and tell them on film. He is, according to the Washington Post, “the man with the golden gut.” He
may have been born that way, but more likely, his natural gifts were polished to laser focus in the
early years of his career. His first films were the60-second tales he told as an award-winning
commercial producer in his native Detroit. One of those mini-films, a parody of “Bonnie and
Clyde” created for Pontiac, was noted for its brilliance in Time Magazine and brought the
23-year-old producer to the attention of world-renowned ad agency BBD&O, which lured him to
New York.
Four years on Madison Avenue gave him the experience and confidence to tackle
Hollywood, and, just reaching 30, he was at the helm of memorable films like “Farewell, My
Lovely,” “American Gigolo” and1983’s “Flashdance,” which changed Bruckheimer’s life by
grossing $92 million in the U.S. alone and pairing him with Don Simpson, who would be his
producing partner for the next 13 years.
Together, the Simpson/Bruckheimer juggernaut produced one hit after another, including
“Top Gun,” “Days of Thunder,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Beverly Hills Cop 2,” “Bad Boys,”
“Dangerous Minds” and “Crimson Tide.” Box-office success was acknowledged in both 1985 and
1988, when the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) named Bruckheimer Producer of
the Year. And in 1988 the Publicists Guild of America chose him, along with Simpson, Motion
Picture Showmen of the Year.
In 1996, Bruckheimer produced “The Rock,” re-establishing Sean Connery as an action
star and turning an unlikely Nicolas Cage into an action hero. “The Rock,” named Favorite Movie
of the Year by NATO, grossed $350million worldwide and was Bruckheimer’s last movie with
Simpson, who died during production.
Now on his own, Bruckheimer followed in 1997 with “Con Air,” which grossed over $230
million, earned a Grammy and two Oscar nominations and brought its producer the ShoWest
International Box-office Achievement Award for unmatched foreign grosses.
Then came Touchstone Pictures’ mega hit “Armageddon,” starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob
Thornton, Ben Affleck and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Michael Bay, it was the biggest movie of
1998, grossing nearly $560 million worldwide and introducing legendary rock band Aerosmith’s
first #1 single, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
By the end of the millennium, Bruckheimer had produced “Enemy of the State,” starring
Will Smith and Gene Hackman and “Gone in 60 Seconds,” starring Cage, Angelina Jolie and
Robert Duvall, both grossing over $225 million worldwide; “Coyote Ugly,” whose soundtrack
album went triple platinum; and the NAACP Image Award-winning “Remember the Titans,”
starring Denzel Washington. His peers in the Producers Guild of America acknowledged his
genius with the David O. Selznick Award for Lifetime Achievement in Motion Pictures.
He began the 21stcenturywith triple Oscar-nominee “Pearl Harbor.” Starring Affleck, Josh
Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale and directed by Bay, the film was hailed by World War II veterans
and scholars as a worthier-creation of the event that brought the United States into the war. In
addition to multiple award nominations and the Oscar for Best Sound Editing, it earned over $450
million in worldwide box office and has topped $250 million in DVD and video sales.
“Black Hawk Down,” the story of the1993 Battle of Mogadishu, starred Hartnett, Eric
Bana and Ewan McGregor and was directed by Ridley Scott. The adaptation of the Mark Bowden
bestseller was honored with multiple award nominations, two Oscars and rave reviews.
And then in 2003, Bruckheimer unveiled “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black
Pearl.” Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightley and directed
by Gore Verbinski, the comedy/adventure/romance grossed more than $630 million worldwide
and earning five Academy Award nominations.
Since then, The Films That Begin With The Lightning Bolt have included “Bad Boys II”;
the raucously funny “Kangaroo Jack,” a family film that won an MTV Award for Best Virtual
performance for the kangaroo; “Veronica Guerin,” starring a luminous Cate Blanchett as the Irish
journalist murdered by Dublin crime lords; and “King Arthur,” with Clive Owen starring in the
revisionist re-telling of the Arthurian legend.
In 2004 “National Treasure,” starring Cage and Sean Bean in a roller-coaster adventure
about solving the mystery of untold buried treasure, opened to cheering audiences and grossed
more than $335million worldwide.
In 2006, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” again directed by Gore Verbinski
and starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, became an international
blockbuster of the highest order, grossing more than $1 billion around the world, the third
highest-grossing film of all time. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, taking home
the prize for Best Visual Effects.
Teaming for the sixth time with director Tony Scott, Bruckheimer produced “Déjà Vu,” the
story of an ATF agent who falls in love with a complete stranger as he races against time to track
down her brutal killer. The film starred Denzel Washington, Jim Caviezel, Paula Patton and Val
In May 2007, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” third in the blockbuster trilogy,
opened around the world simultaneously. Shattering more domestic and international records in its
wake, “At World’s End” became the fastest film in history to reach half a billion dollars in
overseas grosses. By early June, the film had crossed the $300 million mark domestically and
amassed $625 internationally, with its total of $960 million giving “At World’s End” hallowed
status as the number one worldwide movie of the year, and the fifth biggest film of all time in total
box office receipts.
Next up from Jerry Bruckheimer Films are “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” a romantic
comedy based on the best-selling series of novels by Sophie Kinsella, starring Isla Fisher and
directed by P.J.Hogan; and “G-Force,” an adventure film which combines live action and
computer imagery under the innovative direction of Academy Award-winning visual effects
wizard Hoyt Yeatman.
Could the master film storyteller make the same magic in 47 minutes for the living room
audience? Apparently. As Time Magazine recently wrote, “The most successful producer in film
history…is on his way to becoming the most successful producer in the history of TV.”
Bruckheimer brought the power of the lightning bolt to television in 2000 with “C.S.I.,”
starring William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger. It quickly became the number one show on
television, averaging 25 million viewers a week, and, along with its two spin-offs, “C.S.I.:
Miami”—distinguished as the biggest television series on a global scale in 2005—and “C.S.I.:
NY,” helped catapult languishing CBS back to the top of the broadcast heap.
Bruckheimer Television broadened its imprint by telling compelling stories and delivering
viewers in huge numbers with “Without A Trace,” “Cold Case,” five time Emmy Award-winning
“The Amazing Race” and “Close to Home” on CBS.
In 2004, Bruckheimer made the “Time100,” a list of the most influential people in the
world. Also in 2004, Bruckheimer was named number one in the Power Issue of Entertainment
Weekly. The following year, he was the first recipient of the SEAL Patriot Award, in recognition
by the SEAL community for his outstanding representation of the U.S. military in motion pictures
and television.
In 2006, Bruckheimer was honored with a Doctor of Fine Arts degree from The University
of Arizona, his alma mater. “Bruckheimer is unique in the industry in that his creative vision spans
both large and small screens. We are pleased to recognize his work through this honor,” said
Maurice Sevigny, dean of the UA College of Fine Arts.
Variety selected Bruckheimer as their Showman of the Year for
2006.Thisaward—determined by Variety’s top editors and reporters—is presented to an individual
who has had significant economic impact, innovations and/or breakthroughs in the entertainment
Bruckheimer was presented with a Salute to Excellence Award from The Museum of
Television and Radio for 2006 for his contribution to the television medium. And, in 2007, the
Producers Guild of America presented him with the Norman Lear Achievement Award in
Television for his extraordinary body of work in that medium.
The Los Angeles Times listed Bruckheimer as number 8 in its 2006 The Power Issue,
which featured the 100people who wield the most influence in Southern California. Premiere
magazine ranked Bruckheimer as number 10 on its list of 2006 power players, while Forbes
magazine positioned the producer at 42 on its 2006 Celebrity 100 List. Bruckheimer placed
number 24 on Vanity Fair’s 2007 New Establishment, an annual list of the world’s most powerful
Bruckheimer has been successful in many genres and multiple mediums because he’s a
great storyteller.
Look for the lightning bolt. The best stories are right behind it.
MIKE STENSON (Executive Producer) is president of Jerry Bruckheimer Films for
which he supervises all aspects of film development and production. Before joining the company,
he was an executive in charge of production at Disney, responsible for many Bruckheimer films
including “Armageddon,” “The Rock,” “Crimson Tide” and “Dangerous Minds.” More recently,
Stenson served as a producer on “Bad Company” and “Gone in 60 Seconds” and as an executive
producer on “Glory Road,” “National Treasure,” “King Arthur,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The
Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Bad Boys 2,” “Veronica Guerin,” “Kangaroo Jack,” “Black Hawk
Down,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Remember the Titans,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Man’s Chest,” “Déjà Vu” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”
Born and raised in Boston, Stenson graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s
degree in economics and a master of business administration. After his undergraduate stint, he
started as a production assistant in New York and worked for two years in independent film and
television as an assistant director and production manager before returning to Boston to complete
his graduate education.
After completing business school, Stenson moved to Los Angeles where he began his
tenure at Walt Disney Studios in Special Projects for two years before moving into the production
department at Hollywood Pictures as a creative executive. He was promoted to vice president and
subsequently executive vice president during his eight years with the company, overseeing
development and production for Hollywood Pictures as well as Touchstone Pictures. In addition
to the many Bruckheimer films, Stenson also developed several other films and nurtured them
through production including “Rush Hour,” “Instinct,” “Six Days, Seven Nights” and “Mr.
Holland’s Opus.”
While at Disney, many filmmakers attempted to woo Stenson away from the studio, but not
until 1998 did he entertain leaving. With his newest position at the helm of Jerry Bruckheimer
Films, Stenson spearheaded Bruckheimer’s plan to expand the company’s film production
CHAD OMAN (Executive Producer) is the president of production for Jerry Bruckheimer
Films for which he oversees all aspects of film development and production. Oman produced,
along with Bruckheimer, “Remember the Titans,” starring Denzel Washington for Walt Disney
Pictures, and “Coyote Ugly” starring Piper Perabo and John Goodman for Touchstone Pictures.
His most recent executive producer credits for Jerry Bruckheimer Films include “Glory
Road,” starring Josh Lucas, the international hit “National Treasure” starring Nicolas Cage, and
“King Arthur” starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. He also executive produced the critically
acclaimed “Veronica Guerin” starring Cate Blanchett, as well as the blockbuster hits “Pirates of
the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” and
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp,
“Bad Boys II” starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, “Black Hawk Down,” directed by Ridley
Scott and starring Josh Hartnett, “Pearl Harbor” starring Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale and Josh
Hartnett, “Gone in 60 Seconds” starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Robert Duvall, “Enemy
of the State” starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman, “Armageddon” starring Bruce Willis and
Ben Affleck, “Con Air,” starring Nicolas Cage and John Malkovich, “Déjà Vu,” starring Denzel
Washington and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” again starring Nicolas Cage.
In addition to his work on JBF’s many motion picture projects, Oman also supervised
production on several television projects including ABC’s drama “Dangerous Minds” starring
Annie Potts, and the ABC drama “Swing Vote” written by Ron Bass, and starring Andy Garcia.
Prior to joining Simpson Bruckheimer in 1995, Oman was a founding employee of the
Motion Picture Corporation of America. After six years, he left the independent production
company as senior vice president of production.
Oman served as an associate producer on “Dumb and Dumber” starring Jim Carrey,
executive produced Touchstone Pictures’ “The War at Home” starring Emilio Estevez, Kathy
Bates and Martin Sheen, and co-produced “The Desperate Trail” with Sam Elliott and “The Sketch
Artist” starring Drew Barrymore and Sean Young. Oman produced “Hands That See” with
Courteney Cox and “Love, Cheat and Steal” with John Lithgow and Eric Roberts.
Oman graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in finance. He also
attended the University of California at Los Angeles where he studied screenwriting and New
York University where he participated in the undergraduate film production program. He was
born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas.
BARRY WALDMAN (Executive Producer) has worked non-stop on some of the
industry’s most prestigious big-budget projects since beginning work in feature films. Waldman
has collaborated with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on such box office hits as “National Treasure,”
“Bad Boys” and “Bad Boys II,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Kangaroo Jack,”
“Armageddon,” “The Rock” and “Déjà Vu.” Waldman recently worked with director Tony Scott
on “Domino.” Prior to producing he acted as the production manager on “Batman & Robin” and
“The Craft.”
Born and raised in New York, Waldman moved to Florida to complete his studies at the
University of Miami. Upon graduation, he paid his dues as a production assistant before quickly
moving up the ranks to become an assistant director on various independent films and television
programs. He first met producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay when he worked on
the second unit of the original “Bad Boys,” which sparked a long running association with both
entertainment moguls.
Waldman realized his ambition as he quickly progressed to producing and production
managing such popular television shows as “Key West” and “Dead at 21,” which garnered a
Genesis Award and a Cable ACE nomination. Another highlight included producing a
documentary shot on location in Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica depicting the war between
the Sandinistas and Contras. When Waldman decided to make a transition to feature films, he
relocated to Los Angeles.
Bicoastal, Waldman resides in Los Angeles and Miami with his family.
OREN AVIV (Executive Producer), president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture
Production, is a 16-year Disney veteran. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of live-action
development and film production for the motion picture division of The Walt Disney Studios. In
that role, he is in charge of the Studio’s entire slate of live-action films from Walt Disney Pictures,
Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures.
Under Aviv’s tenure as President of Production, the Studio recently opened “Pirates of the
Caribbean: At World’s End” to an unprecedented worldwide gross of $404 million. The Studio
also enjoyed one of its biggest comedy hits of all time with the March 2007 release of Touchstone
Pictures “Wild Hogs,” which grossed in excess of $168 million at the domestic box office. Recent
releases also include “The Game Plan,” “Dan in Real Life” and “Enchanted.” Upcoming films
from Disney include “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets,” and several ambitious new big screen
installments in the popular “Chronicles of Narnia” series.
Prior to heading production, Aviv was President of Marketing and Chief Creative Officer
for The Walt Disney Studios. During that time, he oversaw all creative materials, publicity,
promotions, research, media, online development and synergy for all Walt Disney Pictures and
Touchstone Pictures releases. As marketing chief, Aviv was responsible for a remarkable
thirty-three $
100 million dollar films. In 2006, Disney’s and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “Pirates of the
Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” broke all domestic industry records by grossing $135 million in its
opening weekend; becoming the first movie to break $100 million in two days; and becoming the
fastest movie to reach the $200 and $300 million plateaus. It went on to become Disney’s highest
grossing movie of all time, hitting over 1 billion in worldwide box office. Aviv’s marketing also
steered “Cars” into another successful Disney/Pixar hit, after doing so for “Monsters, Inc.,”
“Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles”—placing “Cars” second behind only Disney’s and Jerry
Bruckheimer’s Films “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” for tops at the domestic box
office in 2006.
Aviv’s efforts have helped The Walt Disney Studios hit $1 billion at the domestic box
office 10 times. In addition, his marketing programs enabled the studio to win the coveted market
share crown seven out of the last 12 years.
During his term as marketing chief, Aviv also guided the marketing campaigns for such hit
films as “The Incredibles,” “National Treasure,” “The Village,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The
Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Finding Nemo,” “Signs,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Lilo &
Stitch,” “The Santa Clause 2,” “Bringing Down the House,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Remember
the Titans,” “The Princess Diaries,” “Freaky Friday,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Unbreakable,” “The
Rookie,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Miracle” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Aviv was Executive Producer of Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “National Treasure.”
Based on his idea, for which he received shared “Story By” credit with Charles Segars, the film
grossed nearly $350 million in worldwide box office, and ranks as the third-highest grossing
live-action Disney film in history, behind only the two “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. He
received the same credits for the Disney comedy “Rocket Man” in 1995.
Aviv joined Disney in 1991 as Vice President, Creative Services, and was promoted to
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Creative Advertising in 1997. At that time, he managed
the development of all trailers, TV commercials and radio advertising, and was responsible for the
creative campaigns for such films as “The Sixth Sense,” “Armageddon,” “The Waterboy,” “The
Santa Clause,” “Sister Act,” “Ransom,” “101 Dalmatians,” “The Rock,” “Enemy of the State,”
“Phenomenon,” “Con Air” and “Crimson Tide.” He served as Disney’s President of Marketing
from 2000-2006, at which time he was named President of Production.
Prior to joining Disney, Aviv was Director of Special Projects for CapCities/ABC, where
he was responsible for television branding spots for the ABC Network’s premiering series,
including hit shows such as “Roseanne,” “Twin Peaks” and “thirtysomething.” Before moving to
Los Angeles in 1988, he served as Creative Director for Grey Entertainment in New York City,
and became the youngest person at Grey Advertising to hold that title.
A graduate of Columbia University, where he earned a BA in English and History, Aviv
has been awarded many prestigious advertising and marketing awards, including Clios, Beldings,
numerous Key Art Awards, and was three times named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age
Magazine, first for “Pirates of the Caribbean,” then “The Incredibles,” and most recently for “The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
CHARLES SEGARS (Executive Producer) co-authored the story that the first “National
Treasure” was based upon, and served as an executive producer on that film. Segars is the Chief
Executive Officer of Ovation TV, the only cable network devoted to Arts-related programming.
He was part of a team that led the acquisition of the network in August 2006 by a group of private
investors which includes Arcadia Investment Partners, Corporate Partners II, Hubbard Media
Group, Perry Capital and The Weinstein Company.
In 2004, Segars founded Sparkler Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based company active in
media investment and strategic advisory work, as well as motion picture and television production.
The company currently has feature projects set up at several studios including Sony, Warner
Brothers and DreamWorks as well as many TV shows in development for the 2008-2009 season.
In 2001, along with Ken Solomon (currently chairman of Ovation TV), Segars was
responsible for the creation, launch and operation of cable television’s preeminent lifestyle
network, Fine Living, the fifth fastest-growing network in cable history. Segars also worked at
DreamWorks SKG where he was instrumental in developing both traditional television and new
media ventures. During his tenure, he played a key role in all creative and operational aspects of
DreamWorks Television, including the supervision of series development, production,
legal/business affairs and marketing/promotional teams.
Segars is also a founder of internet site, one of the premiere movie fan
sites on the internet. He was responsible for the operation and execution of this contextual
e-commerce and community site, and oversaw all marketing and new business development,
orchestrating the sale of to DreamWorks/Vulcan Ventures in 2000.
Prior to DreamWorks, Segars was vice president of primetime specials, reality and event
programming at CBS. He was responsible for the development and production of all
entertainment and reality specials and series including telecasts of the Grammy Awards, The
Country Music Association Awards, the Tony Awards and the Kennedy Center Honors. He began
at CBS as director of late night and non-network programming, supervising the “Crimetime After
Primetime” drama franchise and the launch of “Late Night With David Letterman” and “The Kids
in the Hall.”
Segars began his career as one of the original executive producers and development
executives at the MovieTime Channel and guided its evolution into E! Entertainment Television.
MARIANNE and CORMAC WIBBERLEY (Story by) are a husband wife writing team
who both grew up in Southern California and attended the same high school. They also both
attended UCLA where they earned bachelors degrees—Marianne in Mathematics and Cormac in
Economics. Marianne then went on to UCLA’s graduate film school.
In 1993, they sold their first spec script to Disney and have been writing together ever since.
“The 6th Day,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was their first major motion picture. Since then,
the Wibberleys have also penned “I Spy,” “Bad Boys II,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “The
Shaggy Dog,” and of course, the first “National Treasure.”
Academy Award-nominated writers TED ELLIOTT and TERRY ROSSIO (Story
by) wrote one of the most successful trilogies in motion picture history, with the Walt Disney
Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films productions of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the
Black Pearl," “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At
World's End." Elliott and Rossio also wrote the DreamWorks animated feature “Shrek,” winner of
the first Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2002.
In 1992, the pair co-wrote the highest grossing film of the year, the Disney animated
feature “Aladdin,” starring Robin Williams. Their live-action feature film credits include: “Little
Monsters,” starring Fred Savage; “Small Soldiers,” starring Kirsten Dunst; “Godzilla,” starring
Matthew Broderick; and “The Mask of Zorro,” starring Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins.
In 1996, Elliott and Rossio became the first writers signed to an overall writing and
producing deal at DreamWorks SKG. Their animated projects at DreamWorks include “Shrek,”
with Mike Meyers and Eddie Murphy; “The Road to El Dorado,” featuring Kevin Kline and
Kenneth Branagh; “Antz” (creative consultants), featuring Woody Allen; and “Sinbad: Legend of
the Seven Seas” (creative consultants), featuring Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Elliott and Rossio have been members of the Writers Guild of America, West since 1986.
GREGORY POIRIER (Story by) previously wrote "Rosewood," a powerful historical
drama directed by John Singleton and starring Jon Voight, Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle, for
which he won the Writers Guild of America’s prestigious Paul Selvin civil rights award. His other
credits have included "Gossip," "See Spot Run", “Lion King II: Simba’s Pride”, and "A Sound of
Thunder." Poirier also wrote and directed the comedy "Tomcats."
JOHN SCHWARTZMAN (Director of Photography) was nominated for an Academy
Award for his lustrous work on “Seabiscuit,” for which he won the coveted ASC (American
Society of Cinematographers) Award. He also received an ASC Award nomination for Jerry
Bruckheimer’s production of “Pearl Harbor,” and Schwartzman also photographed the Jerry
Bruckheimer Films productions of “The Rock” and “Armageddon.”
Born in Los Angeles, Schwartzman attended the University of Southern California Film
School. After early work as a cinematographer on such films as “Benny & Joon,” “Airheads” and
“Mr. Wrong,” he ascended to the front ranks with the Bruckheimer/Michael Bay blockbuster “The
Rock.” His other credits include “Conspiracy Theory,” “EdTV,” “The Rookie,” “Meet the
Fockers” and, most recently, “The Bucket List.”
AMIR MOKRI (Director of Photography) served as cinematographer of the Jerry
Bruckheimer productions of “Coyote Ugly” and “Bad Boys II.” Mokri’s numerous credits have
also included “The Joy Luck Club,” “Blue Steel,” “Pacific Heights,” “The Salton Sea,” “Don’t Say
a Word,” “Taking Lives,” “Lords of War” and “Vantage Point.”
DOMINIC WATKINS (Production Designer) Born into a family of legendary Stilton
makers from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, Dominic Watkins' early, formative years illustrate a
life that seemed destined to lead anywhere but into the arena of motion picture Production Design.
Indeed, as a young man Mr. Watkins flourished in the family trade, eventually earning the title,
Master Cheese Maker (MCM). By his early teens, however, Mr. Watkins had grown bored of the
Stilton life. After a furious argument with his beloved parents, Mr. Watkins bid adieu to his family,
his town, and his trusty dog, Fromage, and ventured out into the British Mainland. Mr. Watkins
spent several years toiling unsuccessfully in a series of odd jobs; gardener, attack dog trainer,
bricklayer, lawyer, exterminator, before finding steady employment as a sapper with the Royal Air
Force. A brutal experience in the Falkland Island crisis led him to rethink his life’s direction and
become a coal truck driver. It was behind the wheel, acutely aware that the warmth of thousands of
his fellow Britons depended on the precision of his trucking schedule, that Mr. Watkins found
himself. One dark night, overcome by the noxious fumes emanating from his coal trailer, Mr.
Watkins crashed headlong into a performance by the world renowned art collective, L’Orange
Rash. A collaboration began whereby Mr. Watkins found himself designing sets for the art
collective’s premiere but seldom seen film, L’Orange Rash Visits the Pom Pom Gurlz. In spite of
the film’s commercial failure, Mr. Watkins was inspired by his new found career, and he moved to
California to follow his dream. Commercial Production Design for products like Pampers and
Tampax soon followed. Within a few short years, Mr. Watkins made a name for himself in his
adopted homeland, a name synonymous with quality and taste.
The unique trajectory of Mr. Watkins life made him particularly well-suited for job of
Production Designer on, Bad Boys 2. In this way, Mr. Watkins found himself drawing upon all of
his experiences, from cheese to coal, in order to create the broad range of sets and environments
required for such a dynamic motion picture. Where will Mr. Watkins life lead next? Not even he
knows. However one thing is for certain, this former cheese-curdler from Scotland made good.
Currently, he is working on another Greengrass movie called Greenzone that chronicles the
US deception & misdeeds that have led us to the debacle that is Iraq. He has also worked on several
indie pics of which Alpha Dog, directed by Nick Cassavetes is probably the most notable.
JUDIANNA MAKOVSKY (Costume Designer), who also designed the costumes for
“National Treasure,” is a three-time Academy Award nominee who has 20 years of experience in
the industry, where her talents as a costume designer are highly regarded.
Her artistry was most recently recognized with her third Academy Award nomination for
her work on the period drama “Seabiscuit.” Makovsky was also Oscar-nominated for her
imaginative work in the blockbuster “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” as well as on the film
“Pleasantville.” Makovsky was honored by her peers with Costume Designers Guild Awards for
the latter two films, and was nominated for “Seabiscuit” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” She also
received a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award nomination for “Harry
Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
She also designed the costumes for “Mr. Brooks,” “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” “For
the Love of the Game,” “Gloria,” “Practical Magic,” “Great Expectations,” “The Devil’s
Advocate,” “Lolita,” “White Squall,” “A Little Princess,” “The Quick and the Dead,” “The Ref,”
“The Specialist,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Reversal of Fortune,” “Big” and “Gardens of
Her telefilm costume design credits include “Wild Palms,” “Miss Rose White,” “Margaret
Bourke-White” and the pilot for Robert De Niro’s series, “Tribeca.”
WILLIAM GOLDENBERG (Film Editor) most recently edited Ben Affleck’s directorial
debut “Gone, Baby, Gone..” He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on
“Seabiscuit.” as well as for editing Michael Mann’s controversial film “The Insider" (with Paul
Rubell and David Rosenbloom.) Goldenberg was also part of the editing team on Mann’s “Heat,”
“Ali” and “Miami Vice.”
Goldenberg’s other motion picture editing credits include the Jerry Bruckheimer productions
of “National Treasure” “Coyote Ugly,” and “Kangaroo Jack” as well as “Alive,” “The Long Kiss
Goodnight,” “Pleasantville” and “Domino.” He also collaborated with editor Michael Kahn (as
additional editor or assistant) on “Hook,” “Toy Soldiers,” “Arachnophobia” and “Always.” In
addition, Goldenberg edited the short “Kangaroo Court,” which was nominated for an Academy
For television, Goldenberg worked on the HBO films “Body Language” and “Citizen X,” for
which he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Editing for a Miniseries or Special. He
also edited the pilot for “Over There” the critically acclaimed Fx show about the Iraq War.
DAVID RENNIE (Film Editor) began his career as an assistant editor on such productions
as Jon Turteltaub’s “While You Were Sleeping” and “Phenomenon,” “Volcano” and James
Cameron’s “Titanic.” He ascended to full film editor status on “Home Alone 3,” and has since
worked on Mike Judge’s “Office Space” and “Idiocracy,” Turteltaub’s “Disney’s The Kid,” “The
Sweetest Thing,” “The New Guy” and “Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny.”
TREVOR RABIN (Music) has written the music for 10 previous Jerry Bruckheimer
productions, including “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Gone in Sixty
Seconds,” “Remember the Titans,” “Bad Boys II,” “National Treasure” and “Glory Road.”
Rabin has earned a worldwide reputation for his innovative work as a musician and
composer. Born in 1954 in Johannesburg, South Africa, he is the son of prominent lawyer
Godfrey Rabin, who was also a highly respected violinist for the Johannesburg Symphony
Orchestra. His mother was a well-known actress and an accomplished classical pianist. As a
teenager, Rabin was a sought-after session guitarist, and also played with the bands
Conglomeration and Freedoms Children. One of the songs which Rabin wrote for the latter band,
“Wake Up! State of Fear” was a controversial anti-Apartheid song which angered the government.
After a stint with the South African Army (into which he had been drafted), Rabin formed the band
Rabbitt, which became the most successful rock act ever to emerge from South Africa.
Rabin moved to London in 1978, where he produced such acts as Manfred Mann’s Earth
Band and released his first of four solo albums. He then moved to Los Angeles, where his demos
came to the attention of former Yes bass player Chris Squire, who was seeking a guitarist for the
new group Cinema. As the album neared completion, Jon Anderson joined the band and a new
incarnation of Yes was born. The band’s “comeback” album “90125” became by the
biggest-selling of the group’s career, launching their only number #1 single, Rabin’s “Owner of a
Lonely Heart.” Rabin parted ways with Yes in 1989, and soon became one of the most
sought-after film composers in the business.
In addition to his collaborations with Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Rabin’s other film scores
have included “Deep Blue Sea,” “The 6th Day,” “Coach Carter,” “Flyboys,” “Snakes on a Plane,”
“Gridiron Gang,” “The Guardian,” and his upcoming film “Get Smart.”
GEORGE MARSHALL RUGE (Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director) also
returns to “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” from “National Treasure.” For Jerry Bruckheimer
Films and Walt Disney Pictures, Ruge’s thrilling work was also seen in “Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which won him an American Choreography Award,” “Pirates of the
Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Ruge was the
stunt coordinator/action designer on Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which
included some of the most ambitious and complex action sequences in motion picture history.
NATHAN McGUINNESS (Senior Visual Effects Supervisor) has lent his expertise and
artistry to numerous previous Jerry Bruckheimer productions in various visual effects capacities,
including “Déjà vu,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “Glory Road,” “National
Treasure,” “Bad Boys II,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
McGuinness received Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for his work on Peter
Weir’s “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” as well as two more BAFTA
nominations for both “Minority Report” and “Moulin Rouge.” He has also been Asylum’s senior
visual effects supervisor on such films as “King Kong,” “Domino,” “The Island,” “The Longest
Yard,” “The Amityville Horror,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Man on Fire,” “Charlie’s Angels:
Full Throttle,” “X-2,” “Spy Game” and many others.
MITCHELL S. DRAIN (Visual Effects Supervisor) was the visual effects supervisor on
the second unit of “National Treasure.” Drain attended the Art Institute of Chicago, and worked as
an animator and matte painting early in his career. He then became digital effects supervisor,
compositor or digital artist on such films as “Stargate,” “Judge Dredd,” “First Knight,” “Wild
Bill,” “Cutthroat Island,” “Independence Day” “The Crow: City of Angels,” “Volcano,”
“Flubber,” “Godzilla” and “End of Days.” Drain then ascended to visual effects supervisor on a
number of features, including “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “Miracle,”
“Sky High” and “When A Stranger Calls.”
JOHN FRAZIER (Special Effects Coordinator) was born on September 23, 1944 in
Richmond, California. As a child, his family moved to Southern California, where he was raised.
He attended Canoga Park High School and attended college at Los Angeles Trade Tech, where he
studied high-rise construction and freeway design. In 1963 he began designing special effects
props at the Haunted House nightclub in Hollywood. The owner recognized his skills, and got
Frazier a job at NBC. In 1970, he joined Local 44 and began working on special effects for motion
pictures. He has been the special effects coordinator and/or supervisor on more than 40 films, and
has been honored with Academy Award nominations for “Twister,” “Armageddon,” “The Perfect
Storm,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Spider-Man,” before finally winning in 2005 for “Spider-Man 2.”
He was nominated once again in 2006 for his work on “Poseidon.”
Frazier also won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for “The
Perfect Storm,” and two CLIO Awards for his work in TV commercials. He currently resides in
Southern California.