For a while there, whenever somebody talked about the upcoming comedy about dueling magicians, Burt Wonderstone, it was often just viewed as the next starring vehicle for Steve Carell. He’s long been attached to the lead role of an aging illusionist whose less than fresh magic act has lost its steam. The questions of who would play the flashier, younger magician who takes his place in the hearts and minds of magic fans, or who some of the other characters would be, never seemed to get much attention. But once the movie got a director and another re-write, it became time to start filling out the rest of the cast. And they’ve been doing a pretty bang-up job so far.
Big names like Jim Carrey and James Gandolfini have been mentioned as negotiating for the film, and at this point are assumed to be on board. Carrey will play the flashier magician to Carell’s outdated dud, and Gandolfini is said to be playing a casino owner. And now, joining those names are a couple more actors that you might have heard of: sex symbols Olivia Wilde and Steve Buscemi. Wilde is negotiating to play the role of Carell’s love interest (yeah, right!), a magician’s assistant who bounces back and forth between his character and Carrey’s. And Buscemi is negotiating to play Carell’s long-time partner, who ends up quitting the act.
Quite frankly, Steve Carell’s big screen comedy career hasn’t really done much for me past The 40 Year Old Virgin, and initially I thought Burt Wonderstone sounded like it could be either yet another goofy disappointment or maybe the surprise hit that puts him back on track, totally depending on the script. But now that names like Carrey, Gandalfini, Wilde, and Buscemi are getting packaged with this product, it’s starting to sound more like something I can get behind. There has to be something there to attract this calibre of a cast.
Hopefully, Jason Reitman’s newest version of the script is killer, because with this kind of talent, Burt Wonderstone might end up being a hit. [THR]