There is no escape. It's Hollywood. There will be a National Treasure 3 sequel, according to producer-director Jon Turteltaub.
"We're trying," Turteltaub says in an on-line interview set up to promote the current DVD release of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.
Sequelizing it is not exactly a surprise. National Treasure is now an $805-million property, based on worldwide box office of the two movies combined. There are mega-millions more in DVD sales in the treasure chest, although figures are elusive.
Box Office Mojo reports that Book of Secrets is the number one DVD rental in North America this week. It should also be the best-seller when combining various versions -- separate full and widescreen single-disc editions; a superior, fully loaded, two-disc Gold Collector's Edition; and the slightly more extensive Blu-ray edition (with two more deleted scenes plus a fact vs. fiction section).
Turteltaub says the filmmaking team will take its time with the next sequel.
"Our philosophy is that, until we have a great story, a great adventure and a great piece of history to explore, there's no point in making the movie. But we are working on it. And, by 'we', I mean other people."
Turteltaub is referring to screenwriters who will report back to him and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who also controls Pirates of the Caribbean.
Turteltaub is an interesting character. Born in Tennessee, he is the 44-year-old son of Emmy-nominated TV writer-producer Saul Turteltaub, whose work ranged from Candid Camera to Cosby.
Jon went to Beverly Hills High School with Nicolas Cage, who stars in National Treasure, and once edged Cage out for a role in a school production of Our Town.
Some observations from Turteltaub's own book of secrets:
* On casting Cage: "I can't imagine anyone else doing this part!"
* On directing Cage: "Working with friends is always a little weird. I think we're all much nicer to strangers than we are to friends. Nic and I were friends in high school but then we went 20 years without seeing each other. But, no matter where you go in life, your friends from childhood always see you as the person you were as a child. So, even though we have huge amounts of respect for one another, we also know that, deep down, we're really just a couple kids who did plays together in high school."
* On Cage as an actor: "Nic is as unique as they come. He approaches his roles the way he approaches his life -- with lust, courage, freedom and mischief. But, as unpredictable as he is as an actor, he is always fully committed to making things work."
* On his favourite adventure flick: "Raiders of the Lost Ark is the ultimate adventure movie. I can't see anything wrong with it. It's pretty perfect."
* On having National Treasure compared to the Indiana Jones series: "The comparison is a fair one and doesn't bother me. Both characters are passionate about history ... Indy and Ben Gates are both characters derived from old-fashioned movies of the '30s and '40s. Indiana Jones has one big advantage over Ben Gates: Indy is directed by (Steven) Spielberg!"
* On comparisons to The Da Vinci Code: "Clearly, the overlapping stories of hidden codes and mysteries being kept in famous places is very similar. But what has always made me crazy is the fact that we were first. Out script was written before the book and yet we get accused of 'stealing' their idea ... So I have to admit that I get a bit cranky when we get compared to Da Vinci."
* On the best National Treasure: "On a personal level, (the sequel) was more successful for me (because of reduced stress). The first movie was a nightmare to make and I wanted to see if I could make a film without making myself crazy, which I did. But, in spite of 90% of what people tell me -- and I know I'm probably not supposed to say this to the press -- I thought the first movie was better."
* On National Treasure 3: "I can tell you what we're exploring but not what we're doing. In fact, I can't even tell you that. In fact, I shouldn't be talking to you at all!"