OH OH OH IT’S MAGIC
CAN NOW YOU SEE ME 2 PULL OFF NEW TRICKS?
REENWICH, London, and it’s absolutely bucketing down. Or should that be bucketing up? Flanked by the two pillared blocks of the Royal Naval College, Jesse Eisenberg is pulling off a mighty impression of a meteorological Moses. “I’ve been told I have control issues,” Eisenberg, as premier prestidigitator J. Daniel Atlas, bellows into the 200-strong crowd. “Well, if I can’t control people, I might as well control the weather...” Then, with arms raised and eyes narrowing, he does exactly that. The downpour reverses and the rain starts fizzing back up into the night sky. Okay, so the rain’s from a rain machine, but it’s an impressively brain-boggling display of (apologies in advance) eau-cus pocus.
“Believe it or not, this is a real trick,” Eisenberg tells Empire as he dries off between takes. “As in the first film, we’ve taken an illusion that can be done in the real world on a smaller scale and then pushed it. Like, really pushed it. We’re making the rain go crazy — up, sideways, even levitating. It should make for a great set-piece — huge, cutting-edge and super-inventive.”
Eisenberg’s stunt is the first in a flurry of grand illusions staged around Greenwich for the sleeper-hit sequel. The following day, at the Cutty Sark, Lizzy Caplan will “produce a flock of doves in one take, for real”, says magic consultant Keith Barry, who’s designed all of the sequel’s illusions to work ‘in-scene’, without CG. Original director Louis Leterrier has made way for Jon M. Chu, who’s bringing the expertise that reinvigorated the Step Up series. “The way he’s choreographing the set-pieces is almost like an elaborate dance number,” says producer Bobby Cohen. What with the booming music and sea of multi-coloured umbrellas, Eisenberg’s rain-sequence has more than a hint of a Busby Berkeley vibe.
Globe-trotting from New York to London to Macau, Now You See Me 2 — or NYSM2, according to the posters, even though that takes just as long to say — sees Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Eisenberg’s world-famous magicians-turned-thieves The Four Horsemen (not to be confused with X-men: Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen) temporarily reduced to The Three Horsemen after a pregnant Isla Fisher pulled out of the film. But with new recruit Lizzy Caplan soon on board, they... do something. Magicians never