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Jay Baruchel Broke Apatow Ranks to Make The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and It Didn’t Work Out So Well

One of the oddest things about The Sorcerer’s Apprentice — aside, of course, from the general spectacle of Nicolas Cage, human being — is the presence of the Judd Apatow acolyte Jay Baruchel. The reedy Canadian starred in Apatow’s Undeclared (which, it should always be remembered, is so, so good) then cemented his Apatow credentials by popping up as one of Seth Rogen’s sophomoric buddies in Knocked Up. So how did he come to flout the Apatow crew’s unofficial policy of avoiding well-paying blockbuster crap?

When the back-to-back successes of Knocked Up and Superbad in the summer of 2007 all of a sudden made anyone even remotely associated with Apatow seem bankable, the young would-be stars went out of their way to declare they would not be cashing in. Here’s Rogen, explaining the credo:


We make the movies we want to go see. We found that when you go in meetings with studios and various producers, there’s a lot of talk about who will like the movie, ‘You know, if you make this movie, these people will like it; you make this movie, and these people will like it.’ And they’re all kind of guesses, stabs in the dark almost, and that’s when we realized that the only people we know we can make movies for is ourselves.

And here’s Jonah Hill, who notably turned down Transformers 2, explaining why without being a jerk to Michael Bay (Megan Fox was clearly not paying attention):


People [online] say negative things like I asked for too much money or I didn’t like the script. That’s not true at all. I love Michael Bay, but it just wasn’t right. I wouldn’t have been able to do Funny People if I’d done it. I have other things that I want to do; I hadn’t made a movie that I’d written yet, and that’s where my focus is. I haven’t proven myself enough yet.

Of course, none of those quotes are actually from Jay Baruchel, meaning he may well have been biting his tongue while the others talked up their artistic integrity and was, in fact, fully prepared to take loads of money to make crap. (Or, it should be pointed out, he just genuinely thought The Sorcerer’s Apprentice would be good. Yes, it is an unlikely possibility, but it is still a possibility.) Now that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is receiving both a commercial and critical drubbing, however, it seems like the right time to say: They told you so, Jay.


I can see if Steven Spielberg's calling you, asking you to do something, how that's hard to turn down ... But what I said to Jonah was, 'You want to make a movie about fightin' robots? Make your own movie about fightin' robots. You can do that. That's on the table now.

And Hill again, talking about using his newfound power for good and not for evil:


I always said that if I ever achieve any success, I would use that success to help get movies made by filmmakers that deserve to have their voices put out there.

Of course, none of those quotes are actually from Jay Baruchel, meaning he may well have been biting his tongue while the others talked up their artistic integrity and was, in fact, fully prepared to take loads of money to make crap. (Or, it should be pointed out, he just genuinely thought The Sorcerer’s Apprentice would be good. Yes, it is an unlikely possibility, but it is still a possibility.) Now that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is receiving both a commercial and critical drubbing, however, it seems like the right time to say: They told you so, Jay.

Photo: Disney Pictures