When Joe Gold set out to make a movie about magicians, it was crucial to seamlessly weave the story and the magic together. But the issue of how women are treated in magic spoke out to him — so much so that he made it a central plot point in his latest movie.
“When you go to a play, and there’s five people in a play… everybody gets a bow at the end, everybody is in the program, everybody is treated as a performer, as an actor in that play. That’s not usually the case with a magic show. You go to see a big illusion show, and there may be a lot of assistants running around. If you are an onstage performer, you deserve a bow, you deserve to be treated like you’re part of the show.”
“Desperate Acts of Magic,” directed and produced by Gold and Tammy Caplan, was inspired by Gold’s experience as a professional magician. He performed more than 500 kids’ birthday parties and entered a slew of magic contests. The movie features Jason, a magician competing in an international magic contest, preparing to compete head-to-head with Stacy, a woman and street magician he fell in love with.
The movie took almost two years of filming to produce, and dealt with challenges from finding the time to shoot scenes to finding a replacement for a wrecked car. Gold talked to us about the movie, including some of the magicians who served as stars and consultants, how Valerie Dillman tackled the message and magic of playing Stacy and why it’s really hard to get work done when hanging out with Jonathan Levit.