I love magic. I love watching someone do something that I know isn’t really possible and be amazed that they are able to make it look real. I think that might be why I make movies in the first place. If movies weren’t around, maybe Spielberg would have been a magician instead. It’s all about making something happen that is impossible. Movies do exactly that. Movies (and magic) show you what to look at, direct your eye, and divert your attention so you don’t see the wires and the sleight of hand. It’s a craft, and when it’s done well, we can’t seem to get enough.
We all know when we watch a movie that none of it is real, that we are looking at an illusion. It’s all about getting lost in the story, lost in the wonder, and suspending disbelief. We all know that you can’t pull a duck out of someone’s coat (a staple of Howard Thurston’s routine), or turn $1 bills into $100 bills. But we want to see it anyway. We want to believe. Just like we know that bombs don’t have big red numbers to tell you when they’ll blow up, and you can’t actually get to any part of a skyscraper by crawling through the ducts. But we still want to see it, and we still want to believe it. It’s the expected part of film. It’s the magic of a world we really want to experience. Add some special effects, and your magic quotient just went up threefold.
So the short answer is: movies ARE magic. It’s a special handshake the two artforms share like no others.
Aside from magic, the film is also about family. I love families. I love watching them, listening to them, talking to them. Every family is unique, and everyone defines family differently. Whoever your family is, you interact with them differently than everyone else.
So then we have a family of magicians. People who are pros at pretending, at creating illusion. People who know each other through and through. So when you are stuck interacting with people who are experts and showing you only what they want all of the time, how does that work? What kind of family does that create? That answer is what draws me to this film.
So that’s the answer to ‘why’. Two things that will forever fascinate me: family, and magic. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.