Those who are fans of the performance magic-fueled adventure series Now You See Me probably know that the sequel, Now You See Me 2 isn't directed by the same filmmaker as the original. Instead, director Jon Chu came aboard to replace Louis Leterrier on the follow-up about two years ago. What may surprise you to learn, however, is that the series didn't actually cut ties with Leterrier completely, as he was actually responsible for some of the most action packed sequences in the new movie.
I learned this fun bit of chatter late last week when I hopped on to the phone with Jon Chu to talk about his work on Now You See Me 2. We touched on many topic in our chat, but one of the most interesting bits he revealed was that Leterrier helped as a second unit director behind the camera of two of the sequel's biggest action sequences: Mark Ruffalo's magic fight in Macao, and the motorcycle sequence in London. Chu noted that he had never met Leterrier before working on the new movie, but that they hit it off when they got together to talk about it. Said Chu,
We had sat down maybe a month before I started shooting and we'd never met, and we got along so well in London, and he was like 'Hey, if you need any help, I'm down. If you need close-ups of crowds or objects, like I am totally down to help. I really want this thing to work,' and so, I told the studio, like 'Hey, you know...' because we were looking for a second unit anyway.
There was some pushback on the part of the studio when they heard this idea... but possibly not in the way that you're thinking. Jon Chu explained that they were actually more concerned on his behalf, worried that he wouldn't want to give up such a big production position on Now You See Me 2 to the director of Now You See Me. But it was something he was totally on-board with, and at the end of the day he's very happy he made the decision:
Everyone was very nervous, like, 'Are you sure? Is that weird for you?' I'm like, 'No, if he's actually being real about it, let's take advantage of it! He's the best person to do it.' I called him back and he was like, 'Totally, I'm not bullshitting. I'm totally down.' I love that about him, and we've gotten really close and it was really cool. He did like the motorcycle sequence and the magic fight sequence for us. What more could you ask for?
This is obviously a pretty rare thing to see in Hollywood (the only comparison I can think of is Steven Soderbergh being the cinematographer on Magic Mike XXL), but it's also pretty cool. The movie industry is a place where a lot of huge egos constantly crash into each other, but this is an example of two filmmakers working together to make a project the best that it can be.
You can see the results of Jon Chu and Louis Leterrier's collaboration now, as Now You See Me 2 is now in theaters.