THE LAST WORD... ‘ He’s like Elvis - you see a magic show now did ’ and you are go­ing to see stuff Hou­dini


The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - THE LAST WORD - WithDeb­bieSchipp

“THERE is a place called the Magic Castle in Los An­ge­les – it’s a pri­vate club­house [for the Academy of Mag­i­cal Arts] and you have to get an in­vi­ta­tion from a mem­ber to visit.

It’s se­ri­ous. It’s a big deal in the world of magic. And the LA one is huge in the magic world. I didn’t know that much about Hou­dini be­fore­hand and so when I got the role [of Jim, Hou­dini’s as­sis­tant in the minis­eries about the ma­gi­cian] I man­aged to get an in­vite to the Magic Castle and did a lot of re­search. It was crazy to find out what a big deal he [Hou­dini] is.

He started the Ma­gi­cians As­so­ci­a­tion. He’s kind of the rock star of ma­gi­cians still.

He’s like Elvis – you go and see a magic show now and you are go­ing to see stuff like Hou­dini did – at least a lit­tle bit of it. They still do some of his big­ger tricks now. They might do other ver­sions of it but Hou­dini kind of broke the mould in magic and no­body has changed it much since then.

I wasn’t re­ally in­ter­ested in magic un­til I started re­search and see­ing shows and I re­alised how sim­i­lar it is to act­ing. You have to find the dra­matic ten­sion and try to sell it (to pull off a magic trick) and it’s like, ‘Oh no, is he go­ing to die? What’s go­ing to hap­pen?’ You have to re­ally over-act it. It’s live theatre.

Adrien [Brody, who plays Hou­dini] did some of his own stunts for the show, in­clud­ing some of the wa­ter ones. I’m al­ways kind of freaked out when we do stunt stuff. You hope they know what they’re do­ing and they usu­ally do, but then when you talk to [stunt ac­tors] you find out they’re kinda crazy, so you never re­ally know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.

We were shoot­ing in Bu­dapest, so a lot of the peo­ple around the set didn’t speak English, so there were times I re­ally didn’t know what was go­ing on. The first time we put a stunt man up­side down for a wa­ter tor­ture trick the kid was like call­ing it quits and I’m like scream­ing, ‘Pull him up, pull him up’ and af­ter­wards the head stunt guy said: ‘Just don’t scream’. It was a lit­tle nerve-wrack­ing to watch at first.

Since I did Hou­dini I’ve worked on some­thing where I was un­der­wa­ter and the wa­ter was up my nose and I was like, ‘Aargh … that is hor­ri­ble’.

I moved to LA [from Texas] in 1995. I was go­ing to col­lege and I was an English ma­jor who didn’t have the dis­ci­pline to sit down and write. Then I saw some ac­tor on the cover of a mag­a­zine and said to a friend, ‘Hey I’ll do that’, as a joke. And she said, ‘You must’, and I said, ‘OK, I’ll move to LA’. And I took an act­ing class and I fell in love with it. I only liked three things be­fore that – skate­board­ing, read­ing and al­co­hol or some­thing. But then it was act­ing. It’s a crazy cool job.” HOU­DINI TUES­DAY, 9.15PM, SEVEN

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