Are you ready for Hollywood to go crazy about magic?
In June, we saw the first images from the set of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” which stars Steve Carrell as a Vegas magician who tries to get back together with his former partner Anton Lovecraft (Steve Buscemi) so that they can work together to destroy Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), who seems like a cross between Criss Angel and David Blaine. That is obviously the big comedy version of doing a film about the world of magic, but since Hollywood can’t do one version of something without also doing a ton of similar films at the same time, we can also look forward to the slick stylish heist movie magic film, and if the first trailer’s anything to judge by, “Now You See Me” looks like it could pull off a major trick at the box-office.
It has traditionally been very different to do a film about stage magic that works, and part of that is because the thrill of magic comes from seeing it live, with no edits, and still being fooled by what you see. On film, anything is possible because it’s film. When Christopher Nolan made “The Prestige,” he made the entire notion of misdirection and lies part of the thematic structure of the movie, and he shot the magic scenes in a way that made all of it seem possible, even when the film took a turn towards the surreal. It looks like director Louis Leterrier is going in the exact opposite direction with “Now You See Me,” which appears to have gone through a whole lot of hands on its way to the screen.
Written by Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt and Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec and Ed Solomon, the film appears to be a sort of stage magician version of “Sneakers,” an ensemble heist movie. Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, and Isla Fisher play “The Four Horsemen,” a sort of super-group of magicians working together in a Robin Hood capacity, staging in-plain-sight heists against major corrupt businessmen and sharing the cash with their audiences. It’s a cat-and-mouse between them and a team the FBI puts together to stop them, and it looks like there’s a ton of CGI and a ton of stuff that doesn’t seem to make any real-world sense, but that will be fun in the context of a movie. The rest of the cast includes Melanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Common, Michael Kelly, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman, and it looks to me like Summit Entertainment is working hard to make sure they don’t end up as a one-trick studio known only for the “Twilight” films.
I’m certainly curious, and I like the chemistry we see from the cast in this one. We’ll see if they can pull off the trick when “Now You See Me” opens June 7, 2013.