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Cage And Company
Says Mirren, "I loved the first ‘National Treasure.' I thought it was smart, very entertaining, and led people into history in a very lively way, and that's always a good thing. Personally, I love historical documentaries because they always push me back into history, and I thought this was a very fun way of doing that.”

Mirren found the idea of portraying Ben Gates' mother, Dr. Emily Appleton, more than engaging because of the character's intelligence and strength. "Emily is a very high-level expert in deciphering ancient languages, which really fits into the DNA of that particular family, as both Patrick and Ben are adventuresome types who are obsessed with history. But Emily has resisted the whole concept of treasure hunting, feeling that it's a waste of time, energy and money. She hasn't seen Patrick in the 32 years since they were divorced, and they fall straight into an argument the minute they have a reunion, as if it all stopped just 30 seconds before.”

Also joining the assemblage was four-time Academy Award® nominee Ed Harris as Mitch Wilkinson, as devoted to his family's history as Ben is to his, although it puts them on an inexorable collision course. Harris had good reasons to come aboard, as he already had previous professional associations with several of the film's key filmmakers and actors. "I watched the first film with my wife and daughter and had a really good time,” says the actor. "I had known Jon Turteltaub from the Sundance Film Festival, having both served as advisors in the festival's Film Lab, and I liked him a lot. I've always been a fan of Nic's and worked with him on ‘The Rock,' which of course was produced by Jerry. And Diane Kruger and I worked together on ‘Copying Beethoven' a couple of years ago in Hungary. It seemed like a fun job and an interesting character.

"Mitch is a kind of black-market antiquities dealer who has some experience as a mercenary,” Harris continues. "He's a pretty tough guy who knows how to take care of himself. During the Civil War, Mitch's family, the Wilkinsons, were staunch Confederates who got involved with the missing pages of the Booth diary. Mitch is very knowledgeable about history, like Ben, and has a need to make his mark on history. And if he can find this particular treasure they're seeking, I think it not only will fill him with pride, but Mitch will also feel that he will give his family a legacy which won't be forgotten. It's a bit of a cat-and-mouse thing all the way along with Ben and Mitch, but there's also a certain amount of respect that my character has for Gates, because Mitch knows that Ben is very smart and can figure out all these puzzles and decipher codes. Mitch has to keep Ben alive, so that kind of tension remains between the two characters all throughout the piece. They actually need each other. In some sense, they're two sides of the same coin.”

Also joining the cast was noted actor Bruce Greenwood, who has essayed a wide range of roles in films and television, including Touchstone Pictures' and Jerry Bruckheimer's production of "Déjà Vu.” In NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, he portrays the President of the United States, who becomes deeply involved— though not necessarily in a willing fashion—with Ben Gates' pursuit of the Book of Secrets and the treasure to which clues within might lead. "In this movie, it's not just the mystery that's being solved,” notes Greenwood. "It's also those tidbits of real information about the story of America. It leads to flights of fancy based on these little tidbits, which I think is a lot of fun. We establish that this President I portray has a background and particular interest in historical architecture, which Ben knows and then takes advantage of.”

Past Meets Present: The Filming of NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS With all of the variables of motion-picture<

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