One of the perks of this job is that, on occassion, you get to do some pretty far out stuff you normally wouldn’t even think of. Last year, I ate dinner in Dracula’s Castle. One time, I got to meet the Seseme Street muppets. Most recently, I headed to Manhattan to chat with the cast of Now You See Me 2, and while there, I spoke famed mentalist Keith Barry, who served as a magical consultant on the film, and he used his brain fuckery to deduce my first pet’s weirdo name, Bunky, in a matter of minutes.
You may have seen Barry’s TED Talk, where he breaks down and demonstrates the process he sometimes calls “Brain Hacking”, or you may have seen his Discovery Channel series Deception. At the very least you’ve probably seen the TV show The Mentalist, which has nothing to do with Barry, but follows an ex-con man with a similar set of skills who uses his perceptive skills and mental manipulation to solve crimes. Barry doesn’t use his talents to solve crime, I don’t know why, that’s probably what I should have asked him. Instead, we talked about turning the cast of Now You See Me 2 into passable magicians and Woody Harrelson‘s natural talent for mentalism. Then he did a trick on me.
If you’re a natural skeptic, you’re probably going to watch this video and think that I told him the answer before we started filming. I didn’t. Or perhaps that he conned the information out of me in some way before the interview began. It’s possible, but so very unlikely from the extremely brief, professional interaction we had before cameras rolled. Having experienced it first hand, and watching a stream of journalists walk out of the room flustered and flabbergasted with scant minutes between them, I think Barry’s just a master at his craft and can read an insane amount information in a very short time. Or maybe I’m an easy mark. Either way, it was trippy as hell and super fun. Enjoy.
Here’s the official synopsis for Now You See Me 2:
THE FOUR HORSEMEN [Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan] return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights and taking them around the globe. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than WALTER MABRY [Daniel Radcliffe], a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.