While mega-successful producer Jerry Bruckheimer is best known for his explosive, testosterone-driven action movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Bad Boys, his latest venture finds him working in a significantly different genre: Romantic comedy. Based on Sophie Kinsella’s wildly popular book series, Confessions of a Shopaholic is about Rebecca (Isla Fisher), an uncontrollable shopping addict who, after landing a job as a financial journalist, falls for her wealthy boss (Hugh Dancy). The movie was released in theaters last February and makes its DVD/Blu-ray debut on June 23rd.
Here, Bruckheimer talks about the prospects of Confessions becoming a franchise and how Hollywood is coping with the current economic recession.
MM: Is Confessions of a Shopaholic the perfect credit crunch movie?
JB: 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; hopefully the world will do the same thing.
MM: What was your gut instinct when you came across this book eight years or so ago?
JB: 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 are 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.
MM: What was the last thing you bought with a credit card?
MM: Your trademark is big action movies, so what appealed to you about Confessions of a Shopaholic when you first read it?
JB: Well, I started [making movies] 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.
MM: How would you go about persuading men to watch Confessions of a Shopaholic?
JB: 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!
MM: Do you envision this as a franchise?
JB: 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.
MM: How did you woo costume designer Patricia Fields to become part of the production team?
JB: 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.” She spent a lot of time with Isla talking about the character to see what she felt about the picture 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.
MM: It’s been suggested that the current economic climate means that it’s the perfect time for a movie like this. Can you elaborate?
JB: 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 try to stop spending as much and try to release some of your assets to pay off your debt. So that worked in our favor.
MM: Does the recession mean that making movies is going to be tougher for you in Hollywood?
JB: It is harder to make movies. Budgets are getting smaller, the companies’ stocks are down. The only good news on the horizon is that box office has been up like 23 percent 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 seeing a good movie helps them to alleviate some of the pain that’s going on in their life.
MM: What are you doing next?
JB: 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. And we have a picture in London that’s in post-production called Prince of Persia.