Lots of people talk about “movie magic,” but when films need a little actual abracadabra they call on David Kwong… So how does someone become a magic consultant? For Kwong, it started at Harvard University, where he convinced the history department to let him get his degree in magic studies. “They’re now so proud that I’ve done something interesting with my history degree, when they welcome freshmen into the department or try to convince them, rather, to join, they say, ‘Look, when you study history you don’t have to become a professor, you can be a magician,’” Kwong told Wired. From there he went on to do marketing for HBO, study magic in China, and move to Los Angeles to work in film development – which lead to founding the Misdirectors Guild.
To find out what was “real” magic in Now You See Me and what was just movie magic, Wired asked Kwong to explain a few of the film’s best tricks. He didn’t give everything away, naturally, but he did share some of his secrets.