It's still a year away, but mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer is already banking on his big screen epic, Pearl Harbor, to rake in some serious cash when it hits theaters next summer. But with a budget rumored at $200 million, it's no wonder that the producer has Titanic-sized expectations ? not to mention anxieties.
"We don't want to screw this one up," says Bruckheimer, who's lined up Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Alec Baldwin, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kate Beckinsale for the flick. "It's such a good script. The core of it is a triangle love story so it's an emotional film. It shows the essence of what happened at Pearl Harbor. We're not making a docu-drama."
The veteran producer (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Armageddon, Coyote Ugly) says that there's a simple reason why his films have grossed an estimated $11 billion worldwide. "I'm successful because I listen," he insists. "I know I don't know anything. The minute you really think you know and you're at the top of your game, you start losing. If you knew what makes a hit movie, you'd be selling the formula and sitting in Hawaii."
Bruckheimer says there's also a simple reason why certain stars succeed and others don't. "We've had so many actors with enormous opportunities in hit movies," he says, "and they disappear because they make a lot of bad choices." He says Tom Cruise enjoyed success after Top Gun because he followed it up with The Color of Money opposite Paul Newman and Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman. "He wasn't the star of either of those movies," he says. "He's been very smart about how he built his career.
"Will Smith (Bad Boys) is the same way and Ben Affleck (Armageddon)," adds Bruckheimer, who is busy developing a Smith/Affleck project called Affirmative Action. "[Ben's] going to be a big movie star."