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NATIONAL TREASURE

Supporting Cast
Adding more depth to the colorful cast of characters in NATIONAL TREASURE are such acclaimed actors as Sean Bean in the role of Ian Howe, who threatens the Declaration of Independence; Jon Voight as Nicolas Cage's disillusioned father; Christopher Plummer as the grandfather who inspires Cage's quest for treasure; and Harvey Keitel as Agent Sadusky, who is fast on Cages' trail.

Sean Bean was drawn to the role of Ian Howe—the entrepreneur who initially finances Ben Gates' treasure hunt only to reveal he has his own motives—because he thought it would be great fun to play someone so cunning and conniving. "Ian is smart and bold like Ben but also quite ruthless and greedy,” says Bean, "and this is where he differs from Ben. Ben is interested in America's treasure for the good of the people, whereas Ian is in it for his own prosperity. I think this contrast, along with their intelligence, makes them very interesting rivals for treasure.”

Says Jerry Bruckheimer of Bean's modern-day version of the relentless and malevolent foe: "You can't have a great hero unless you have a great villain, and Sean is a wonderful villain. He plays it very smart, as somebody who is very shrewd and clever, and is never far behind Nicolas Cage in trying to find the treasure.”

Adds Jon Turteltaub: "Sean is a very sexy bad guy. He has an amazingly commanding voice and he is also very powerful and comfortable with himself on screen. We wanted Ian to be an extraordinary obstacle for Ben Gates—a guy who has no moral limits whereas Ben has to wrestle with his—and Sean gave us that.”

To play Ben's father, the man who abandoned the chase that Ben is now pursuing with everything he's got, the filmmakers were pleased to cast Oscar® winner Jon Voight. "I always felt we needed someone of real stature to play Nicolas Cage's dad,” explains Turteltaub. "Jon brings the kind of charisma and strength to the part that we needed. At the same time, we discovered how sweet and awkward and funny he can also be. He was the biggest, and most wonderful, surprise in the movie for me.”

Voight immediately said yes to the part purely on the basis of his long-lived relationship with Jerry Bruckheimer, with whom he has collaborated four times, including on the upcoming "Glory Road.” "Jerry's movies are always exciting and he is a person who really cares about every piece that goes into making them,” says Voight. "So when he asked me to take a look at the NATIONAL TREASURE script, I was honored to do so—and immediately found that here was a very fun adventure story with a lot of unique characters and elements to it.”

The character of Patrick Gates, a treasure hunter who walked away from the hunt when the danger and heartbreak became too much, also appealed to Voight. "Patrick is someone who has become disillusioned and bitter after giving up so much of his life to find something so seemingly intangible. Now, after all these years, his son Ben pulls him unwillingly back into the search, and also pulls him back into life a bit,” he explains.

NATIONAL TREASURE also presented Voight with his first opportunity to work with Nicolas Cage. "We had a lot of fun working together and discovering a real chemistry that made us a pretty good pairing for father and son,” says Voight. Adds Nicolas Cage: "Jon and I wanted to create one of those relationships where, over time, the son starts to becomes more like the father and the father more like the son, and this was something that felt very natural with us.”

For Jon Turteltaub, the exceptional supporting cast became a key part of bringing NATIONAL TREASURE's character-driven story to life. "I was really impressed at how generous these extremely accomplished actors were,” he says. "They were devoted first and foremost to telling this story and to focusing on the big p

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