Funnymen reignite magic

It’s no il­lu­sion – Steve Carell and Jim Car­rey team up for a mag­i­cal com­edy, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

EFORE An­chor­man, The Of­fice and The 40-Year-Old Vir­gin, Steve Carell got his big break steal­ing scenes op­po­site Jim Car­rey in the hit com­edy Bruce Almighty.

It was a role that helped launch his ca­reer, but Carell didn’t even think it would end up in the movie.

‘‘I fig­ured my part was prob­a­bly left on the cut­ting room floor,’’ he says, even telling his wife as much be­fore the pre­miere.

‘‘But I was very pleas­antly sur­prised when my stuff hadn’t been cut and it turned into a big break for me, so I owe him (Car­rey) a lot.’’

Fast for­ward 10 years and Car­rey and Carell are back shar­ing the screen again, fac­ing off as op­pos­ing ma­gi­cians in The In­cred­i­ble Burt Won­der­stone.

Carell, who also co­pro­duced the film, said Car­rey was his first choice to play grungy ma­gi­cian Steve Gray, whose ex­treme stunts and ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity quickly send the fame and for­tune of Las Ve­gas duo Burt (Carell) and An­ton (Steve Buscemi) in to the ground.

‘‘It was a long shot. But we got lucky. He thought it was a hys­ter­i­cal char­ac­ter and jumped in,’’ Carell says of the ap­proach to Car­rey.

The ac­tors spent a few months be­fore shoot­ing work­ing with what Carell called mag­i­cal train­ers and also saw a bunch of magic shows dur­ing the first few weeks of the shoot in Las Ve­gas.

Burt com­ments in the movie that Gray can­not be a ma­gi­cian, not just be­cause his il­lu­sions in­clude hold­ing his urine for days on end, but be­cause he doesn’t even have a cos­tume. He, on the other hand, per­haps over­com­pen­sates.

As Burt, Carell plays against type, tak­ing on a char­ac­ter who’s ego­tis­ti­cal, ex­trav­a­gant and a fan of be­jew­elled cloth­ing, him­self, make-up, mul­let hair­dos and tonnes of bronzer.

Carell said when in doubt, the key to Burt’s look was be­come more tanned.

‘‘I al­ways had to slather on more fake tan,’’ he says. Not that any­one in Las Ve­gas no­ticed. ‘‘It’s funny, we wanted all th­ese Above (from left): Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Car­rey in

Be­low: Olivia Wilde. characters to be a sort of a height­ened re­al­ity but then we got to Las Ve­gas and we were all in th­ese out­fits and we didn’t stand out in any way,’’ he says.

The su­per­fi­cial el­e­ments like cos­tum­ing and make-up were fun for Carell, but on the tech­ni­cal side of magic, the movie was also in good hands.

Ma­gi­cian David Cop­per­field acted as a con­sul­tant on set, de­sign­ing one of the big il­lu­sions Carell and Buscemi per­formed.

Carell says af­ter re­hears­ing, they shot the trick called The Hang­man un­cut and with­out spe­cial ef­fects, ‘‘which was neat – we felt like we were ac­tu­ally do­ing a le­git­i­mate il­lu­sion’’.

Although Carell now knows how to pull coins from be­hind some­one’s ear and var­i­ous other magic skills, he’s not about to use them to try to im­press his two chil­dren.

‘‘I’m not the weird dad do­ing the magic tricks for kids,’’ he says.

Dur­ing his and Car­rey’s scenes – which in­clude an in­tense magic face-off, with each try­ing to outdo each other – Carell says there is a lot of im­pro­vi­sa­tion go­ing on.

‘‘With some­body like Jim Car­rey you just let him go,’’ he says.

‘‘You let him ex­plore and find what­ever he’s go­ing to find.’’

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