Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE -

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

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