Steve Carell Talks The Fun Of Playing A Douchebag On The Set Of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-02-27 15:39:56discussion comments
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I'm guessing Burt has a bit of a redemptive arc?

But he's still sort of a douchebag. I think that's fun. I like the fact that he's arrogant, has a downfall and has a redemption. What I liked about the story is that it's very, very silly and ridiculous. At the same time, though, there's a truth to it. There's a thread of grounded-ness, if you will, which I think gives you extra license. It's fun. Apart from everything else, it's the kind of movie I would want to see. It's just a good, fun, silly movie populated by incredibly good actors. People like Steve Buscemi, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde. There's some really, really good people in this who will take what I think is good script and elevate it.

We were hearing that there's a certain degree of slight-of-hand that you have to learn. How has that been?

Oh, I'm fantastic. Let me show you! Yeah, I've been taking some lessons. It's tricky, though, because what you can acquire in a few months' time is not going to replicate somebody who has studied for 20 years. I've studied magicians in general, too. I went to the Magic Castle and I went to Vegas and saw a lot of shows. I've observed them. Their acts and not just the technique of the trick but the technique of the presentation itself which is, I think, an art form as well. Every magician has a different style and a different way of communicating with the audience. They're fun. Again, it's something where, when you go without any cynicism and just embrace it, it really sort of transports you. It's fun. We went to see David Copperfield and Chris Angel when we were in Vegas and they were fantastic. I'd never seen either of the before. I don't know. I think it's a really fertile area for a movie like this.

When you were shooting, we saw that you'd come over after every take and look at the monitors. What is it that you take away each time you do that?

I'm trying to kind of modulate. I'm trying to figure out, for one thing, a sense of where the cameras are and where they're looking and what's reading and what isn't reading. Just sort of to get my bearings. The first couple of takes I felt like I was just a little bit hot. I needed to be a bit more nonchalant because they've done this change thousands of times. He's probably had the same discussion with his partner as to some sort of in-fighting between them. After watching a couple of them, I got the sense that it needed to feel a bit more well-worn and routine. As well as the technical aspect of getting into new clothes. I wanted that to look like it had been done many, many times before and not that this was the first time for everybody. As a producer on the movie, too, I'm trying to watch all those things and other elements as well. Like what kind of coverage we might need or whether this could play in one. Just to kind of file away for later in terms of what we may need for this scene or that sort of thing. Some of it is from a producorial standpoint.
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