Movie magic is one thing; actual magic is a whole 'nother trick. But when you combine the two, you get… shazam: "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," opening wide this weekend.
Steve Carrell plays the titular Vegas magician who, along with his longtime partner and friend Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), has been wowing the Strip for years. Alas, Burt's bursting ego threatens to make both the partnership and the friendship disappear into thin air. When gritty street magician Steve Gray (played not by a Steve, but by Jim Carrey) starts piling up YouTube views, Burt realizes he must change his ways to get the old magic back. But will it be too late?
With Carrell, Buscemi, and Carrey being joined by Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini, and Alan Arkin in supporting roles, we know "Burt Wonderstone" will have plenty of tricks up its sleeve, but here are Five Facts about the film you may not know.
It's All About the Accessories
1. For Burt, Anton, and their dazzling assistant Jane (Wilde), costume designer Dayna Pink created looks in the gaudy Vegas showman mold of Liberace and Elton John. But the look that's got us even more intrigued is that of Carrey's Steve Gray, a guerrilla street magician akin to David Blaine and Criss Angel. Of course, you probably haven't seen either of those guys wearing a dangling baby-doll arm or a human-hair key chain. "It was all about the accessories… these crazy, edgy things --- rings, necklaces, horns -- that make him unique," Pink recently told Entertainment Weekly. "Jim brings Jim to the table, and that's a lot! I brought a lot of crazy stuff to his house to do a big fitting. He was always up for it. He let me go a little cuckoo." Speaking of going cuckoo, while you might think Carrey's recent public appearances (including last night on Letterman) wearing a pair of giant feet and "puny angel wings" have something to do with his outlandish "Burt Wonderstone" costume, that's just not the case. Carrey tweeted (below) that the outlandish accessories are all just part of his "awkward spiritual journey," then proceeded to crack up Letterman's audience while esoterically explaining what that means.
Guess who's making an appearance on Letterman tonight? Me, back on my awkward spiritual journey! Backstage! B^} twitter.com/JimCarrey/stat…
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) March 13, 2013
2. In an effort to regain their popularity, Burt and Anton attempt to pull off a "grand illusion" -- spending a week in a Plexiglas box suspended 40 feet above the Vegas Strip. While parts of the final scene were finished in post, Carrell and Buscemi actually did their own dangling. As Carrell explains, "It was me and Steve dangling there by a wire, in a glass box with breathing holes. It wasn't so much the height that freaked me out but being able to look straight down through the bottom of the box and see ground. I prefer to see something solid underneath me." You can watch the disastrous results of the illusion in the trailer below.
3. In order to make the movie more, well, magical, the filmmakers brought in a top notch adviser: world-famous illusionist and Sin City mainstay, David Copperfield -- the most successful magician in history (if you believe Forbes). For "Wonderstone," Copperfield designed an entirely original illusion, along with an instructional video so the filmmakers could shoot the trick entirely in one take. Copperfield also plays himself in a very funny cameo, which you can partially see in the clip below.
Magic's in the Air
4. What's up with magic movies coming out two by two? This year you've got "Burt Wonderstone, which comes out Friday, less than two months before the release of "Now You See Me," a thriller which pits magicians (and possible bank robbers) Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Isla Fisher against pursuers Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. (You can see the trailer below.) And remember back in 2006 when Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, and Paul Giamatti brought the dark arts to the big screen with "The Illusionist," mere months before Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson did it better in Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige"? Speaking of Michael Caine, March 14 is his 80th birthday, so be sure to wish him a magical day.
Please Be an Illusion
5. This is the third collaboration between Carrell and Carrey, after successful ventures in "Bruce Almighty" (2003) and the animated feature "Horton Hears a Who!" (2008). They've obviously developed a shorthand over the years, as exemplified in a recent interview with MTV. In one of the most bizarre exclusives ever, while lying on top of the interviewer in various states of recline, Carrey and Carrell discuss how close they've become as Carrey sticks his fingers in Carrell's ears. And sorry, but it doesn't appear to be an illusion.