David Kwong’s Misdirectors Guild Makes Movie Magic

Inside Magic Image of Now You See Me Movie PosterMagician and movie consultant David Kwong founded The Misdirectors’ Guild as “an elite group of magicians who specialize in illusion and deception for film and television.”  He and his colleagues have been busy of late with Hollywood films like The Incredible Burt WonderstoneNow You See Me and Red Lights starring Robert De Niro as a mind-reader and mentalist. (It apparently had a limited release in the United States but we heard the first thirty minutes featured the debunking of spiritualism tricks).

The Misdirectors Guild site lists several other Mr. Kwong and his group helped.  It is a pretty impressive list.

“Magic is all storytelling,” says Mr. Kwong told FastCoCreate.com. “It has an arc that’s introduced, then played out for the big reveal. There’s a foreshadowing along the way. I like the idea of putting clues out there is plain sight–introducing the simplest of magic tricks, then making their concept play out in a big way.”

He would know.  Mr. Kwong is not only a real-life magician, but he has also worked with some of the true big names in our business; like Ricky Jay and David Copperfield.  For Now You See Me, Mr. Kwong worked with the director and screenwriters to “make the illusions in the film as plausible as possible, while furthering the plot.”  That is a tough job.  There has to be a temptation to save the time and money necessary to teach actors sleight of hand with a few well-placed computer-generated imagery (“CGI”).

Mr. Kwong was on the Now You See Me set for about eight months teaching card sleights to the cast.  He claims the film tried to keep the magic real.  “All the illusions in the film are based on real practical effects,” Mr. Kwong told FastCoCreate.com. “Even a 3-D projection done on the side of a building is now used as a marketing tool. The actors employed a fair amount of real sleight of hand.”
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Magician Ricky Jay Can Make You Cry, He’s So Good

Inside Magic Image of Deceptive Practices Movie PosterInside Magic Favorite Magician Ricky Jay is so good, his magic can make people cry.

That’s how The Jerusalem Journal begins its very positive review of Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.

We are told of a British journalist who dined with Mr. Jay in a café on a hot, sticky day. (The article doesn’t say “sticky” but we believe it was implied and will stand by our interpretation).

He related a story about Max Malini, “who once borrowed a woman’s hat, placed a silver dollar underneath it, then lifted the hat to reveal that the coin had transformed into an enormous chunk of ice. And at that moment, the journalist recounts, Jay lifted his menu with a flourish to reveal his own 1-foot-square block of ice, which materialized as if out of thin air. The journalist was so astounded by ‘this supreme piece of artistry,’ she says, that she ‘burst into tears.'”

Deceptive Practices lovingly created by filmmakers Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein will open this Friday, May 17th in Los Angeles. You can check out the official movie site for listings in other areas and states here.

The Journal says Mr. Jay keeps his secrets – particularly when it comes to magic effects or personal matters – but does perform some pretty amazing things for the camera and the audience beyond.  It “unfolds like a magical mystery tour of Jay’s professional art and artifice. On camera, he transforms a paper moth into a real insect, flings a card at 90 miles per hour to pierce the skin of a watermelon and dazzles audiences with his specialty — astonishing card tricks — with maneuvers so virtuosic they defy the imagination.”
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