What was your tattoo methodology?
CARREY: Well I actually designed that tattoo and the insignia with the rabbit skull and the top hat. My make-up artist Billy Corso helped me bring it to life and refine it. So that was kind of thrilling, as that was the first time any of my own art has crept into a film.
Steve and Steve, your relationship and the different ways it ebbs and flows throughout the film was interesting. Was all of that on the page? Or was some of that worked right out in front of the camera?
BUSCEMI: For me one of the most thrilling things about it was the dancing that we did. I would just follow Steve’s lead and just try and keep up with him. It was so much fun to do that stuff, and again, I think it really informed who these guys were. You know that they just probably discovered it themselves, like at a show, and just kept it up. It just becomes this thing that they don’t even think about.
CARELL: Sometimes you just go fishing. Obviously the script was great and we always would do it as scripted. But then you just sort of open the gate and see what you can find. A lot of times it’s terrible. Most of the times you improvise you’re just burning up a lot of film. Every now and then you find some little gem or something that works. It just happens in the moment. So those are fun when you can find them.
Jim, among comedians Vegas can be used as a pejorative a lot of the time. The sense I got earlier in your career is that you wanted to avoid the conventionality that would lead you here. I’m wondering if your attitude towards the entertainment in Vegas have evolved.
CARREY: Well there is everything here. There is everything you could possibly think. There is this kind of big, glitzy, Vegas-y thing that everybody thinks of as Vegas. I guess you gotta get somebody’s attention. When you look out there on the strip it’s blinding with the energy that’s happening. Last night the whole strip blacked out by the way… I was using my hair dryer. But I found the breaker turned it back on and everybody had a good time. But, seriously, you know there’s everything. Now I am not a gambler, I’m not into the whole ‘Sin City’ part of the deal, but I like the shows.
I used to open for Rodney Dangerfield years ago at Caesar’s. I would bring my dad down to see the show. So to see the name up on that big sign is such a thrill for somebody when they’re starting out. It’s just like “Wow! I’m really here.” And I did have that shift, I went away from the impressions. I started dressing weird and had spiky hair and imitated cockroaches avoiding vacuum cleaners and things like that on stage. I totally lost the audience… which I had planned to do from time to time. Now Rodney Dangerfield used to stand backstage and howl with laughter at my failure, but in the most fun way. I’d get off stage and he’d be like [Carrey then busts out a dead-on Dangerfield impression] “Man, they’re looking at you like you’re from another fucking planet!”
Has anyone one of you come to Vegas, and gone to a show and expected it to be kind of cheesy, perhaps with that performer being past their prime, but then pleasantly surprised by how good they still are?
CARELL: I saw Tom Jones here. It was the first show that I saw in Vegas and it blew me out of the water! To this day it is one of the best shows I have ever seen. His voice is unreal. I mean I think you can go with a sense like “Oh, this might be fun… ironically.” But it wasn’t. At all. It was just fun for the performance sake of it.
CARREY: Oh, I love Tom Jones! He’s amazing. I used to watch his show from London when I was a kid. I met him one time in an airport and he’s such a great guy, really wonderful. So, yeah he was a hero at one point. I think anybody who gets to Vegas and stays here for any length of time is, first of all living in a Martian environment and should be commend, but also they have to be good to a certain kind of extent. It might not be your kind of good, but it is ‘good’. They know how do it. I came here to do showcases at the Aladdin during the strike…this was way back. I was a kid really. I went to see Lola Falana with Fred Travalena opening for her and it was always a great show. They know how to entertain here.
There are magicians that devote their whole lives to their craft. Now you guys are dedicated actors, but you have a few months to prep for something like this. Was there pressure to just look amazing in the movie as a magician?
CARELL: Part of it is just replicating the showmanship of it all. I learned in going to all these performances that so much of it is the build up to the actual illusion. So much of it is the layering and the sense of mystery that they try to create. In speaking to these professionals it is something that they really found important. I tried to emulate that more than anything else.
Can you describe what it is like doing a magic trick without Hollywood trickery or effects?
CARREY: [Very deadpan] No.
WILDE: I can make a dollar levitate, which might come in handy one day. Now they changed it in post, in CGI, but it’s okay ‘cause I know I can do it. I could do it here… the problem with it is that it takes 20 minutes of set-up and I would need everyone to turn around and close their eyes… and I need props…
WILDE: I tried to do it at dinner. I really wanted to show off my levitating dollar. So you’re supposed to have invisible thread, which is a trick that many magicians use, and I didn’t have it, but the magician told me I could use hair. So I plucked one of my hairs while my companion was going to the restroom. I didn’t tell him anything. So I took the hair and rigged the trick, which is just sticking one end of the hair on the table and the other end on your [clothes] button. I put the dollar on there. The trick is that you lean back and it rises. Again it’s the pageantry that sells the whole thing. But as I was waiting for him to take forever in the bathroom, the waitress kept coming over and asking if I needed anything. I didn’t want to move because I was attached to the table, so I’m like “No, no, no, I’m fine, I’m fine!” I was so stiff. I think by the end of it I had been waiting for 20 minutes for my companion to return and by the time he did the hair had snapped and the trick was ruined. But if I one day get some real magic thread I feel confident I could do this trick. I also learned how to steal someone’s watch, which I am not very good at, and also… the card tricks… Now, it’s all so hard. It is harder than you think!
CARREY: I loved that hair trick though!
WILDE: You can’t move. You have to be very stiff to make it work.
Jim or Steve, what is the craziest rumor you’ve heard about yourself coming out of these types of comedic movies?
CARREY: The craziest rumor I ever heard about myself was that I had an iguana and they had to hire a chef for my iguana. Now, I did have an iguana at one point but I did not specifically have a chef for him.
Steve, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up Alan Arkin. Could you mention something about his performance?
CARELL: It’s the third time I’ve gotten to work with him and I could not be a bigger fan. He is never not good and this movie is no exception
So why are audiences going to love The Incredible Burt Wonderstone?
DALEY: I think for the world of magic, for anyone whose been to Vegas… you don’t have to do much to exaggerate it, so it’s a really funny look at something that already exists.
BUSCEMI: For me it’s the characters. These guys wrote a really funny story but with characters that I find really compelling and very funny. I’m just so happy to be in it.
CARELL: And in addition to that if this movie can just get one person to vote, then we’ll have accomplished something.
CARREY: [Clapping enthusiastically] Yeah!
WILDE: I think it’s very rare to have all these incredible actors in one movie. So I think people will really enjoy seeing them all work together.
GOLDSTEIN: I would say because Jim needs an iguana chef.
CARREY: Truly, truly. If there’s anybody out there…