According to the Independent, the magical caper film Now You See Me is getting not one but two sequels, both to be directed by Jon M. Chu. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine are all returning for the films. Lizzy Caplan is replacing Isla Fisher. The original film, released in 2013, was a box office hit, but received rather lukewarm reviews (I liked it, though!)
Recap: four magicians, played by Mr. Eisenberg, Mr. Harrrelson, Mr. Franco, and Ms. Fisher, are hired to carry out a number of amazing feats, including an amazing bank robbery. An FBI agent (Mr. Ruffalo) tries to crack the case with the assistance of an agent from INTERPOL (Melanie Laurent) and a magician who reveals other magicians' tricks (Mr. Freeman). The ending reveals the true reason for the magicians' motives and the real intent behind the agent's pursuit of the conjurors.
Now You See Me 2 is due in theaters June 10, 2016.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the CW Network is moving ahead with a remake/adaptation of "The Illusionist," the big screen version of Steven Milhauser's tale of a magician who sweeps his love off her feet with his conjuring abilities (as it were). The 2006 film starred Edward Norton and Jessica Biel and was part of a (sort of) slew of magician-themed movies during that period: remember Woody Allen's Scoop (2006) with Scarlett Johannsson and Hugh Jackman, and The Prestige (also 2006) and also with Mr. Jackman and Christian Bale.
Says THR, "The CW's version is set in turn-of-the-century New York and follows a renowned illusionist who returns home from a decade in prison to find his wife married to the ruthless crime boss who framed him." I assume the "wife" is really the ex-wife at this point. At any rate, the magician uses his deceptive skills to take revenge on the evil crime boss. Shades of Now You See Me (2013), sort of. By the way, according to IMDB, a sequel to Now You See Me is in pre-production; Jesse Eisenberg and Daniel Radcliffe (did you see that coming?) are listed as part of the cast. Ah, new tricks at the box office!
Renowned magician and actor John Calvert has passed away. He was 102. Mr. Calvert was famous for his sawing-the-lady-in-half trick, using an audience member as the sawee, and for starring in the Falcon movies as Michael Watling ("The Falcon"). He also made several other films, and appeared in Are These Our Parents? and Bombadier in roles as a magician. Here's more from the Los Angeles Times.
Johnny Depp has joined the ranks of those Hollywood stars planning a movie about magicians. His venture is based on Myron Levoy's young adult novel The Magical Hat of Mortimer Wintergreen (Mortimer Wintergreen is the conjuror). Apparently the hat, in the possession of a stage magician/con man, does all sorts of wonderful things. Sounds sort of like the Hogwarts hat, except that Mortimer's hat appears in 1987 or 1988 and the first Harry Potter novel came out in 1997. The novel's protagonists are two youngsters who live on a boring farm in South Dakota and want to escape from their mean aunt Vootch. Hmmm. Maybe she's mean because she lives on a boring farm in South Dakota, has two snarky kids to take care of and her name is Vootch. Anybody think of that?
I wonder who will create the special effects. There have to be special effects! More here in an article from The Hollywood Reporter, here from IMDB.com.
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.