Steve Carell's new comedy, Burt Wonderstone, which features him as Las Vegas magician Wonderstone will open this year's South by Southwest Film Conference. More here from the Hollywood Reporter. Here's more about the movie, which also stars Steve Buscemi as Mr. Carell's partner, Anton Marvelton, and Jim Carrey as a ambitious up and coming magician, Steve Gray. Wonderstone and Marvelton split up their act after an accident on stage, and Gray becomes a threat to Wonderstone's solo act.
Others in the movie are Alan Arkin, playing Wonderstone's mentor Rance Holloway, and James Galdofini, a billionaire casino owner. David Copperfield appears as himself. Jonathan Levit is the magic consultant. The film is due to be released March 15.
From the Hollywood Reporter: Ted Field and Radar Pictures (The Last Samurai, Revenge of the Nerds, Cocktail) are planning a movie centered on the legendary Magic Castle, which reopened in February, after it was damaged by fire last year.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller ("21 Jump Street") are trying to bring "Carter Beats the Devil" to the big screen. Tom Cruise was interested in this project some time ago, but his option apparently lapsed and so did the film. Now, still snoozing at Warner Brothers, the movie project has caught the attention of Mr. Lord and Mr. Miller, whose film "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" was a huge success in 2009. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.
Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games") may direct an adaptation of William Kalush and Larry Sloman's The Secret Life of Houdini for Summit. Meanwhile, it seems that Columbia Pictures might be planning its own Houdini flick, to be directed by Francis Lawrence, who will also direct "Catching Fire," the sequel to Mr. Ross's successful "Hunger Games." Watch closely: how many Houdinis do you see?
From the New York Times Magazine: photos from the forthcoming film Hugo and an interview with the film's director, Martin Scorsese. The film is an adaptation of Brian Selznick's graphic novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and one of the characters is the legendary filmmaker Georges Melies, who had a great interest in stage magic. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.
With this essay I begin an examination of the effect and influence of psychics and psychic detectives on the legal system and popular culture. Scripted shows such as the popular Medium and the recently cancelled Ghost Whisperer enhance the personal accounts of the psychic detectives on whom they are based, adapting interesting characteristics and stories, and creating entertainment for viewers. Psychic detective shows such as the reality shows Psychic Detectives, Psychic Witness, and the new series Paranormal Cops provide an alternative to the popular crime scene investigation (CSI) shows as a way to provide a window into the legal system for America’s TV audience. The CSI shows rely on experts and an exciting array of scientific tools, suggesting that scientific evidence often can be so conclusive that the prosecutor in criminal cases can satisfy the “reasonable doubt” standard with no problem. Psychicdetective shows seem to present investigative television that appeals to those interested in the spiritual and the unknown and offer a contrast to the certain outcomes of CSI shows by posing questions that seem closer to the realities with which many viewers are more likely to be familiar through their newspaper and tv experiences. Sometimes juries or judges acquit defendants even though they seem to be guilty or convict them though they seem innocent. Some members of the public think they have paranormal experiences and regularly go to psychics. Many people read newspaper horoscopes, even if only for entertainment, and love the inserts in their Chinese fortune cookies.
Further, such shows emphasize what many viewers may consider to be the fallible side of the legal system, playing on existing viewer fears that defense attorneys with their “tricks” can overwhelm prosecutors and juries. These fears include those that arise out of the impression that constitutional guarantees such as those embedded in the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments are “loopholes” or “technicalities,” which function solely to give the accused far too many rights at the expense of the victim and his or her family. Linked to that fear is the idea that the police may arrest the wrong person or fail to solve crimes altogether. In conjunction with a news media which deluges viewers with stories about cold cases are horror stories about criminals inexplicably allowed to go free who then commit additional crimes, killers never caught and the suspicion that innocent persons may spend years in prison or may well be executed, such “psychic detective” shows present a convenient solution to what seems to some to be an insoluble and horrific dilemma.
From The Hollywood Reporter, news about the new film The Great Magician , from Emperor Motion Pictures, which stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai, a "master illusionist in the 1900s who gets the girl and saves his country with his magic tricks." The movie, directed by Derek Yee, is currently in production.