The first thing you notice about actress Teresa Palmer is that she's very charming. The second is that she has a high level of energy.
She plays the female lead role of Becky in The Sorcerer's Apprentice,opposite Jay Baruchel and Nicolas Cage. When we spoke to her last week she'd just seen the final version of the film for the first time and was understandably excited by what she saw. We felt it was our duty to try to level her off a bit.
"Tell us something terrible about Jay Baruchel," we demanded.
"Jay Baruchel is just awful," Palmer said. We then promised to make that our headline.
"Oh, don't!" the actress exclaimed. "He's the most wonderful, loving person. He's so kindhearted. He's a real professional and he comes to the set every day and is kind to everyone who works around him. He really gives it his all in this movie. I think audiences are going to fall in love with him."
Palmer went on to say that the movie was no easy feat for Baruchel. He plays David who, as a young boy, is told by Cage's Balthazar that he's destined to be a great Sorcerer.
"He's got some pretty big shoes to fill, you know," Palmer said of her leading man. "To have to play Mickey Mouse is no small thing to achieve. He really did it. He should be proud of himself."
The movie is, of course, a nod to the famous segment of Disney's animated opera Fantasia in which Mickey finds himself trying to corral a closet full of out-of-control mops that he's magically animated. The scene also appears in the new movie, although Baruchel is the apprentice now, not to mention the central figure in a plot to resurrect Morgan Le Fay so she can rule the world.
The actress had previously met her co-star during prep for the ill-fated Justice League of America movie in which they'd both been cast. In this movie, she plays Dave's childhood girlfriend who reconnects with him in college. In the intervening years, Dave has become extremely geeky and more insecure than ever, while Becky has blossomed into an intelligent and gorgeous young woman.
The pairing may seem odd on screen, but Palmer had no problem selling the idea.
"He's bubbly and fun and very lovable," she said and admitted that much of the banter between them was ad-libbed. "I found it so easy to have chemistry with him. He's a charming guy. How could you not?"
As improbable as the romance between the two seems initially, the film does a very good job of making it credible. Palmer said Becky proves an important character in the movie on many levels.
"She's a wonderful girl. She's got a really kind heart. She's also different from a lot of girls in the fact that she finds the nerd attractive. She thinks its really endearing," said Palmer. "She's also a very brave soul. When Dave explains that he's a sorcerer she says, 'Alright, you know. I'm gonna support you and I'm gonna love you and I want to join in on this ride,' and she's excited by it."
Acting against a green screen presents the usual challenges of reacting without completely knowing what it is she's screaming at, but Palmer said she was well impressed by the finished product.
"I could not even fathom the scale of special effects in this movie," she said of the Chinese dragons, giant chrome eagles, transforming cars and other bits of eye candy that populate The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
If the movie does well, Palmer said she's committed to coming back for another. However, she has some demands for director Jon Turteltaub.
"I want to have magic in the next one. The boys get to have all the magic and the stunt work. I'd love to do more of that in the second one," Palmer said.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Teresa Palmer and Alfred Molina arrives in theaters July 14th.
Interview: Teresa Palmer talks about I Am Number 4