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Confessions of a Shopaholic - Jerry Bruckheimer interview

Jerry Bruckheimer produces National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Interview by Rob Carnevale

HOLLYWOOD mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer – the man behind box office hits such as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor as well as TV’s CSI franchise – tells us why Sophie Kinsella’s popular novel Confessions of a Shopaholic proved so appealing to him. He also reveals his own shopping temptations and why his latest film contains the secret to a satisfying night out… even for men!

Q. Is this the perfect credit crunch movie?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I think it is. It’s a tale of redemption. It’s a tale of a girl who is going on a journey, who makes mistakes as most young people do… the credit card companies love sending you credit cards so you exceed your limit and they can charge you interest. And this is a girl who overcomes her problems and figures a way out of her financial crisis, and hopefully the world will do the same thing.

Q. You’ve been referred to as the man with the golden gut, so what was your gut instinct when you came across this book?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well, I thought the character was just so wonderful, intelligent and crazy and I just wanted to see her on the big screen. Sophie [Kinsella]‘s writing just captivated me. We bought this eight years ago, before it became an international success and was only one book. Now there’s five. So, we were very fortunate to latch onto a character who has since become an international success both as a novel and hopefully now as a movie.

Q. There seems to be a new genre of films concentrating on women’s relationship with shopping, such as The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses. Why do you think that is?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I think it’s the source material. 27 Dresses was a famous book, and Devil Wears Prada was also a wonderful book, so it’s coming out of the novelists who are really creating these wonderful female characters that we want to see on the big screen.

Q. Your trademark is big action movies, so what appealed to you about Confessions of a Shopaholic when you first read it?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well, I started years ago with Flashdance and we also did Coyote Ugly, so I have put my toe in the water before with romantic comedies. I love making them and I love making people laugh. That’s a trademark that I don’t think any producer would turn down. We love to entertain audiences and this picture does that – it’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s got a nice message and I think it’s a gift to the audience to be able to enjoy this movie.

Q. How would you go about persuading men to go and see this movie?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I think the best thing you can do when you go and see a movie is to bring somebody along who really enjoys the film with you. I think this is one of those movies… it wouldn’t be their first choice. But once they’re in there and they see the enjoyment that not only they’re getting, but also their wife or their girlfriend then it makes for a much more pleasant evening after the movie!

Q. Do you envisage this as a franchise?
Jerry Bruckheimer: We hope so! We hope that audiences around the world embrace the picture in the same way they have the books and that hopefully Disney will allow us make another one.

Q. How did you woo costume designer Patricia Fields?
Jerry Bruckheimer: We were really fortunate that she was right in between projects. She was in Japan at this fashion thing and we called her there and had her rush back and she started working on the movie. She came in a little late but she did an amazing job. What I was so impressed with was that she just doesn’t show up with the clothes and say to the actors “wear it”. I know she spent a lot of time with Isla talking about the character to see what she felt about the picture and so she felt comfortable wearing the clothes. She also gives you such an array of choices. We went to her warehouse and any woman would have been green at the amount of clothes that were there, and the kind of styles that she comes up with. She knows all the young designers and creates things on her own. It was really terrific.

Q. It’s been suggested that the current economic climate means that it’s the perfect time for a movie like this. Can you elaborate? And does the recession mean that making movies is going to be tougher for you in Hollywood?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Well, I feel that we’re kind of fortunate that this book gives the whole world a lesson in economics and how to get out of the mess that we’re all in. It’s basic message is to try and stop spending as much and try to release some of your assets to pay off your debt. And yes, it is harder to make movies because budgets are getting smaller, and the companies stocks are down. The only good news on the horizon is that box office has been up by something like 23% from last year, which is great for us. It’s still the cheapest form of entertainment. People want to leave their homes but they can’t go on vacation as much as they used to. So, getting out of the house and seeing a good movie helps them to alleviate some of the pain that’s going on in their life.

Q. What are your shopping temptations?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I like men’s clothes.

Q. What are you doing next?
Jerry Bruckheimer: We have a picture that’s coming out in the summer called G-Force, which is half animation and half live action for Walt Disney Pictures. And we are starting The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in New York with Nicolas Cage at the beginning of March, and we have a picture here in London that’s in post-production called Prince of Persia.

Read our interview with Confessions star Isla Fisher