Sorcerer's Apprentice will get modern-day New York setting

Nicolas Cage, seen here in his upcoming SF movie Knowing, will star in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Jon Turteltaub, who is directing a live-action adaptation of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, told a group of reporters that the story is now set in modern-day New York and expands greatly on the Mickey Mouse short from Fantasia on which it is based. The film stars Nicolas Cage as the sorcerer, with Jay Baruchel as his apprentice.

"Obviously, we're not turning that eight minutes into two hours, but the premise of a sorcerer needing to train an apprentice and taking place in present-day New York City really opens up what the movie is," Turteltaub said in a group interview on Wednesday in Universal City, Calif., where he was promoting his upcoming CBS TV series Harper's Island. "In the present, modern-day context, sorcery and all that stuff doesn't quite fit like it did in the animated version. It's sort of that fish-out-of-water quality that gets added in."

In the classic animated short, the sorcerer leaves his apprentice to cause trouble with spells. In the expanded version, the sorcerer plays a larger role. "Remember, just as it was a scene in Fantasia, it'll be a scene in our movie," Turteltaub said. "You're going to get plenty of Nick." Turteltaub also directed Cage in the National Treasure films.

There will, of course, be brooms, as Mickey Mouse accidentally created ever-multiplying brooms in his version. "We wouldn't dare make it without brooms," the director said.

Turteltaub added that he begins shooting in two months. "We are eight weeks from shooting, [starting] March 8," he said. "It's actually going really well. Every day of shooting on that show will probably cost more than every episode of Harper's Island."

Walt Disney Pictures has not announced a release date yet for The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

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