The real magician behind ‘Now You See Me 2’ shares the movie’s secrets
Magicians as Robin Hoods, using their cardistry and escapology skills to beat The Man.
That’s the idea of Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2, now in theaters. The Four Horsemen are back, and the actors behind them had to learn more illusions to play the part, with the help of chief magic and mentalism consultant Keith Barry.
The approach to the magic of the franchise changed as Jon M. Chu took the director’s chair for the sequel. While the first movie featured some “illusions of tomorrow” that can’t be done in reality (Isla Fisher in a bubble!), Chu was determined to do the movie’s magic in-camera, in real time, with as little CGI as possible. With the first film, director Louis Leterrier had asked magicians, “What effects have you always wanted to perform but don’t quite have the method for it yet?” There is some CGI enhancement in the sequel, but largely Chu and his team committed to real-world illusions.
Ireland-born Barry had consulted on the mentalism of the first movie, prepping Woody Harrelson to play hypnotist Merritt McKinney. On Now You See Me 2, he’s consulting on all the magic of the film, along with David Copperfield, who’s credited as a co-producer on the film.
Barry visited HitFix’s video studio to chat about Now You See Me 2, telling us about the time Harrelson made co-star Mark Ruffalo literally see green, how they pulled of the movie’s standout cardistry heist scene, what illusion he’d like to see in a Now You See Me threequel he’d totally be on board for, and what peeves him about the TV show The Mentalist.
Barry also took some time to show off his mentalism, both on and off camera. (He managed to really wow our skeptical office manager with one mind-blowing performance as he was on his way out.) On-camera, he taught us about remote viewing and how, believe it or not, Cold War-era psychic spies used that practice of seeing a distant target to peek into the Kremlin. Check out the “remote viewing” I got to do in the video below:
Now, I’ll tell you, before the interview, Barry did tell me to think of an object. But I (as far as I know!) didn’t tell him what it was. So I was very impressed when the paper clip I had pictured in my mind 20 minutes earlier indeed showed up in that sealed envelope. I’m stumped. I don’t know how he did it.