Although taking place against the glitz, glamour, and backstabbing of the Las Vegas showman industry, the duelling magician tale The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was less of an exercise in acrimonious method acting for star and producer Steve Carell than a chance to once again work with two old friends in the form of Jim Carrey and recent Academy Award nominee Alan Arkin, both of whom he’s acted alongside twice previously.
As the bumbling titular magician falling from his successful perch, Carrey plays the pagan influenced stunt magician and chief rival Steve Gray. The two worked extensively to play credible magicians – with Carell even training under the tutelage of David Copperfield – but despite the on-screen rivalry, Carrey and Carell relished the chance to team up again.
“It’s always great to be with Steve and when I heard about this character and that he was producing the movie I was in and I wanted to have fun and play and bury myself in this character.” Carrey said during a recent press junket for the film.
Carrell was even more laudatory to his co-star, citing him as a major influence on his career.
“He can do no wrong in my eye. I remember after I moved to Chicago watching Ace Ventura for the first time and there were three people in the theatre and even with only those three people the theatre it was full of laughter. I don’t remember laughing so hard at a movie. It’s inspiring to watch someone like that, so to be in movies with him, equally so.”
But even more of an influence on Steve was Arkin, who plays Wonderstone’s mentor and idol Rance Holloway.
“Alan Arkin is probably my biggest idol in real life. Art is imitating life there. When I got a chance to work with him on Little Miss Sunshine, that was like a dream come true.
Then when we were doing Get Smart I remember asking if we could please get Alan Arkin to be the chief. In this movie there was no other person in mind to play the role of Rance. He’s one of those people where you have these expectations and the reality exceeds the expectation. I just get excited thinking of him as my friend.”
Arkin concurs: “It’s (like) an old vaudeville team. We both have the same roots and we go back there a lot.”
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is in theatres Friday, March 15. Check out the trailer below.
Top image: Steve Carell in a scene from The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Courtesy Warner Bros.