What happened was, I have a very close relationship with my aunt, she's a hundred and one, she was born this little town in south eastern Poland. And I told her if I got into a movie in Europe, that I would go visit this house that she grew up in. So I got into a movie that was filming in Bosnia and I didn't know so much about geography so I thought, you know, I could have an after work excursion to Szczecin. But I promised her I would go to this little town, I would see the house she grew up in--she'd always tell me about it. So I was doing this movie and after the movie ended, I flew out... Let me skip to another part of the story, because it's a funnier part of it. When I took all these pictures of the house and I brought them back to my aunt and she looked at them for a second and said, 'Oh, yeah that's it.' And uh, she couldn't care less. Two weeks, rented a car, got into a car accident--
Is that true? You got into a car accident?
I had a car accident, the guy--ah well, it's not important. Um, I was a victim! Anyway...
Could you identify with the aspect of this character having a talent and passion, but not quite having the belief that he could live his dream?
Yeah, exactly. That’s what’s driving him. He has this great ability and, at the same time, this great feeling of worthlessness that comes from having a troubled situation and the guilt that accompanies being great at something, in a situation that doesn’t always encourage you to be comfortable with that. That’s a sad rut to be stuck in, but is a really great story because it really centers on this guy figuring out that he’s good at this thing, and that’s okay. All these terrible personal circumstances can be separate. I see that all the time. Working in the arts, you see people who come from terrible circumstances and who, for whatever reason, have this incredible talent. But of course, with that great talent comes some guilt because, if you come from circumstances that don’t encourage it, it can be really confusing.
What were the biggest challenges in playing someone who is trying to be disciplined while living in such a chaotic lifestyle?
He is that kind of a kid who had to grow up too quickly because his mom is not responsible, even though she’s a loving mother. He’s had to be her parent, in a way, and engineer her life while he’s trying to pursue his own goals and dreams. That’s just too much of a burden for a person. The story takes place mostly in a day, and it’s just this awful day where he’s both trying to do the greatest thing in his life, and dealing with the worst thing in his life. But, he has a good and constructive attitude, so the movie ends up being funny and sarcastic because he’s able to have this flustered reaction to all of it.
What attracted you to Now You See Me, and what was it like to work with Louis Leterrier?
It’s a really unique movie. The cast was huge and, for each character, they cast these incredible actors. It was a surreal experience. Every day, there was somebody really interesting coming in. It was a really fun time. I played the world’s greatest mind magician. He’s able to manipulate people through these very elaborate tricks. It was such a creative experience because the filmmakers created these very elaborate tricks that were interwoven into this complicated plot where the FBI is trying to figure out how they’re doing it. So, on the one hand, you’re seeing these incredible things, as an audience, in the same way that an audience would be watching these magicians. And then, on the other hand, you’re trying to figure it out from the perspective of the FBI. It was a really interesting process.