Steve Carell and Jim Carrey are hoping to double down on the laughs playing warring Las Vegas magicians in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” with Carell as an arrogant David Copperfield-esque illusionist with a tired act and Carrey as a cocky, out-there Criss Angel-style street magician. The two comedy stars take a look at what they love and laugh at in the glitzy, antythong-goes world of Las Vegas entertainment.
On the similarities between actors and magicians:
Carell: Actors and magicians are both performers, and they represent things that are not necessarily who they are.
Carrey: There’s not a lot of difference between them. I think magicians are definitely more arrogant, and that's what bothered me about magician's work growing up. I was always fascinated by it, but they're kind of like, ‘Abracadabra – you're an idiot’ kind of thing. They don't let you in on the joke. Comedians, you always kind of are in on the joke – unless it's Andy Kauffman. My character, definitely is one of those guys that you know that would mess his hair up for three hours to look like he doesn't care, so he's coming at them like trying to undermine their confidence in their lives and stuff like that and pointing at them like they've been corrupted, and yet, he's truly the corrupt one. He really wants what they have.
On shooting a sequence on the Las Vegas Strip:
Carell: Yeah. It was very informational to be shooting here. There is also obviously a different vibe in Las Vegas. And at one point or several times during the weeks we were here, I walked around in full hair and makeup, costume through casinos, and no one batted an eye, which led us to believe that we were on the right track with the character development, because on the poster it looks ridiculous, but it's not that ridiculous in the context of Las Vegas.
Case in point: we were suspended by a crane 60 or so foot in the air in a plexiglass box on the Las Vegas Strip, and we didn't even gather a crowd. We tried to gather a crowd. We wanted extras. We didn't want to pay for all the extras. We figured, ‘Well, people will just gather, and we'll shoot that as a crowd. Nobody cared. They were on their way to the big shows, and, ‘Oh, two guys in costumes up in a box. Anyway...’ And then they were on their way.
Carrey: I felt totally at home out there. It was nice. I really liked being out there. I liked being in the street in Vegas. I have trouble being in the room. I don't know what happened to architecture. I think they're getting us ready for space colonies or something. Nobody puts a window in that you can crack. So I'm literally drying out on a daily basis. I'm chewing my lips right now. Day three, I'm beef jerky.
On Vegas-style entertainment:
Carrey: There's everything you can possibly think of here. So you can't really pinpoint. There's this kind of big, Vegas-y, glitzy thing that everybody thinks of as Vegas, and I guess you've got to get everybody's attention. You look out there on the Strip, it's like blinding, the energy that's happening. It's kind of a cool place that way. I'm not a gambler. I'm not into the Sin City part of the whole deal, but I like the shows. I used to perform here with Rodney Dangerfield. Years ago at Caesars, I used to open for him, and I brought my dad down to see the show and stuff. And 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.’
On seeing a Vegas show they thought might be campy or over-the-hill and being wowed:
Carell: Tom Jones! I saw Tom Jones here. It was the first show that I saw in Vegas, blew me out of the water. To this day, it's one of the best shows I've ever seen, and his voice is unreal. I think you can go with the sense of, ‘Uh, this might be fun, ironically,’ but it wasn't at all. It was just fun for the performance sake of it. He was fantastic – completely enjoyable.
Carrey: Oh, I love Tom Jones. Are you kidding me? He was amazing. I used to watch his show from London when I was a kid. And I met him one time in an airport, and he was such a great guy, really wonderful. He was a hero at one point, and I think anybody who gets here and stays here for any length of time is, first of all, living in a Martian environment and should be commended. But also, they have to be good to a certain extent. It might not be your kind of good, but it's good. They know how to do it. Way back to when I came here to do showcases at the Aladdin way back when I was a kid and went to see Lola Falana with Fred Travalena and it was always a great show. They know how to entertain here.