Olivia Wilde (“Cowboys & Aliens,” “TRON: Legacy”) stars as Jane—the assistant who bailed on superstar magician Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell), in New Line Cinema’s highly anticipated comedy, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.”
Though she never once succumbed to what Burt assumed was his irresistible charm, and she didn’t have the kindest words for him at their last parting, Burt hopes she still feels enough loyalty to the old act to prevent her from slamming the door in his face.
In the film, magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas Strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other.
Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show is starting to look stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act—both onstage and off—if only Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.
A magicians’ assistant by default, Jane was plucked from the show’s backstage crew one night after Burt and Anton’s previous eye-candy associate quit during intermission. “She’s literally tossed off her feet, her clothes are ripped off in the wings and they throw a costume on her, slap on a blonde wig, and push her out on stage so she’s totally out of her depth the first second we see her,”offers director Don Scardino.
Adds producer Chris Bender, “She’s actually an aspiring illusionist who used to admire Burt Wonderstone very much. Of course, that was before she met him.”
Seeing the character as smart and confident, but with a kind of awkwardness that was fun to play with, Olivia Wilde says, “The way Jane is thrust into the act completely unprepared gave me a chance to play up the comedy of the situation, which was something new for me. I like the idea of her having to overcome her stage fright on the job, being nervous and not wanting to get into that ridiculous spangled outfit but having no choice.”
In those few frantic seconds before the curtain goes up, it’s Anton who calmly applies Jane’s lipstick, a personal touch that, Wilde says, “Steve Buscemi came up with at the last second, and it really helps to establish their camaraderie right off the bat.”
Jane’s relationship with Burt, though, was not nearly as intimate, in any sense of the word. “He experiences a different dynamic with her,”co-star Steve Carell admits. “She’s tougher and more intelligent and focused than the women he’s accustomed to dating. Frankly, any woman who dates or sleeps with Burt Wonderstone immediately regrets it and hates herself, and Jane certainly wouldn’t do that because she’s better than that.”
Surprisingly, Jane believes Burt is better than that, too. A fan since childhood, she credits him with inspiring her interest in the many facets of magic and, despite her disappointment, still shares that affinity with him. “She’s horrified to see how lazy and entitled he’s become and how he’s lost his way, but also believes that, somewhere inside, he’s still brilliant,” Wilde concludes.
Opening across the Philippines on March 20, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is a New Line Cinema presentation and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company