* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* Magic New Zealand®
* Proudly sponsored by International Entertainment Ltd NZ
* www.magicnewzealand.com
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Issue Number: #1123
Date: Sunday 31st August 2014
Editor: Alan Watson
E-mail: editor@magicnewzealand.com
Hi here is the latest news

1. Editor's Message
2. FISM Italy 2015
3. How to "Make It" in Hollywood...and Life
4. Steve Martin in "Magic Camp"
5. I.B.M. Honorary Life Membership - Don Wiberg
6. 3rd European Close-up Magic Symposium
7. Remarkable Magic #359 - Nick Lewin
8. MAGIC Live 2015!
9. Update on the 'Tribute to Tihany' Show
10. The Friendliest Magic Convention In Australia
11. Broken Wand - Robert (Bob) G. Elgas
12. The Historic North Theatre Celebrates Two Year Anniversary
13. Updates So Far This Week on VanishLive.com
14. The Illusionists 2.0 - Auckland New Zealand
15. Adrien Brody Prepares 'Houdini' Mini-Series
16. e-zine Archives
17. Privacy Policy and Copyright Notice

1. Editor's Message

Here in Auckland, New Zealand we were very privileged to be able to present a lecture featuring Luis de Matos 'The Master Magician' from Portugal who is in our city to perform in THE ILLUSIONISTS 2.0 show over the next two weeks.

Approximately 70 New Zealand magicians travelled to see this once in a lifetime lecture. Luis shared his life experiences, his philosophy and creative processes in magic with his tightknit team of nine. We found it very interesting to learn all the detail and team effort that goes into creating his car vanish/production which he has performed commercially over two hundred times. Another truly inspiring sequence in his lecture was his one man floating ball routine which was spectacular.

As an added bonus everyone was able to meet James More, 'The Deceptionist' who is also in the show with Luis, and hails from England. The night was a huge success - thank you Luis!


Delighted to see that Marvin Berglas (son of David Berglas) is one of two nominations as President for The Magic Circle in London.

For all those who would like to read the Magic New Zealand e-zine in a HTML format go to: http://www.magicnewzealand.com/ezine-archive/2014-Jan-to-Dec-2014/1123-Aug31-2014.html

Remember if you have any magic news drop me a line:

2. FISM Italy 2015
By Giulia Gobbi

This is just a short update to let you know that we're working as hard as we can behind the scenes to make FISMITALY2015 the best FISM ever.

We'd like to announce the location of the event and our amazing consulting committee. Read more below. Secure your place in magic history. Book for FISMITALY2O15 today. http://www.fismitaly2015.com/booking

Max and Friends

** Click below to see the video

** ICC announcing our committee
** Amazing friends.


We've created the most impressive committee for FISMITALY2O15.

Max Maven, Luis de Matos, Ton Onosaka, Topas, Richard Kaufman, Bimil Casa, Alessandro Marrazzo and me, Walter Rolfo!

The experience, knowledge, expertise and contacts of this committee will help make sure this is not just the best FISM ever, but the best magic gathering ever witnessed.

See more (http://www.fismitaly2015.com/iccpage )

Location Rimini Palacongressi http://www.fismitaly2015.com/palacongressi

FISMITALY2O15 will be held in Rimini, the Italian capital of fun and holidays. The Venue is secured and is incredible. Find out more about it by clicking here (http://www.fismitaly2015.com/palacongressi)

We've partnered with one of the best Italian tour operators to sort out your hotel booking, transfers and tours before, during and after FISM to make sure this FISM is not just a great magic event but also an amazing holiday. Full details of this will be announced in September.

See more (http://www.fismitaly2015.com/palacongressi) LEGGI LA VERSIONE IN ITALIANO (http://eepurl.com/1SZL5)

For more information go to: http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3ec30e783785bcf850dfed55f&id=5056cc9189&e=9a2e8e8dc6

Our mailing address is:
Masters of Magic
via Rochemolles
Torino, To 10146

3. How to "Make It" in Hollywood...and Life
Message by Sincerely,
Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

In this week's 182nd podcast on The Magic Word, I am joined by television producer, director and writer, Tom Blomquist. This interview was held over from my week at The Magic Castle in June so as not to "overload" you too much with from California. But this chat is quite interesting and different, too.

Tom Blomquist is not a magician nor does he particularly have an interest in magic. He was a fraternity brother of mine from college who found success writing some of the iconic U.S. television shows such as "The 'A' Team", "Walker-Texas Ranger", "Greatest American Hero" and several others. He not only wrote many of the scripts, but he also produced and directed many TV shows. Tom has "semi-retired" to teaching Directing and "Multiple Camera Television Production" and "Media Aesthetics" at California State University - Long Beach.

So what does this chat have to do with magic? Well, we can always learn from other vocations and drama and theatre arts are closely aligned with magic. Moreover, the advice Tom gives directly applies to our lives and how we can improve ourselves and our art.

You can hear it all on The Magic Word at: http://themagicwordpodcast.com/scottwellsmagic/tom-blomquist or you can get it through iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

I will be attending the Texas Association of Magicians (T.A.O.M.) convention this weekend and hope to bring my usual daily updates; however, due to some elective carpal tunnel hand surgery I'm having this week, I don't know how efficient my fingers will be on the keyboard. So if I post anything at all, it may be lacking some of my usual text in the blog. If I don't post anything this weekend, then I will post any chats I have all together next week. Stay tuned and check the website at: http://themagicwordpodcast.com/ for any updates.

Thanks for listening and your financial support, too!

4. Steve Martin In "Magic Camp"
Article forwarded by Kerry Ross

Steve Martin Returns to His First Job at Disneyland in Disney's 'Magic Camp'

Steve Martin is in final negotiations to star in Disney's feature film Magic Camp. Martin, whose first job was working at the Main Street Magic Shop at Disneyland, co-wrote the most recent draft of the script with A.C.O.D. writer/director Stu Zicherman, based on a first draft by Diary of a Wimpy Kid scribes Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. After the jump learn more about Magic Camp, the documentary of the same name, get a story of the history of Steve Martin Disneyland magic, and see a photo of a young Martin working in the Main Street Magic Shop.

Balance of the article go to:


5. I.B.M. Honorary Life Membership - Don Wiberg
Message by Don Wiberg (US)

At the 2014 Combined Convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians held in St. Louis, Missouri U.S.A., the membership of the I.B.M. unanimously awarded Don Wiberg an Honorary Life Membership for his work in materially advancing the Art of Magic. Don has been a member of the I.B.M. for 61 consecutive years and served as the International President in 1984-1985. He has been the International Secretary since 1995. He has served on a number of committees and was the General Chairman of some of the I.B.M. conventions.

The International Brotherhood of Magicians is the world's largest magical organization with over 10,000 members in 86 countries. Don has performed his magic act for countless numbers of organizations, clubs and for family audiences throughout the Chicago land area. He has also won a number of awards for his writing contributions to The Linking Ring, the I.B.M.'s monthly journal

There are only 6 other living members of the I.B.M. who have been awarded this honor;
Dr. Richard O. Mossey, Mr. Earle Christenberry, Mr. Joe Bertuzzi, Mr. Harold Twaddle, Dr. William Spooner, Dr. William Wells, and now, Don Wiberg.

6. 3rd European Close-up Magic Symposium
Article forwarded on by Rob Thomas

3rd European Close-up Magic Symposium, 21-23/11/2014, Milano, Italy

The most exclusive and original convention in Europe dedicated strictly to the art of close-up magic!

This event has attracted the best artist of close-up magic from all over the world to Milan (Italy), each year since 2010.

A two day convention: performances of big stars in Magic, free private sessions with your favorite artists, international close-up competition, and a lot more!

Free tables are still available at the dealer area, please contact us for availability.

The winner of the competition will get an invitation to the 4F (Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic)!

For more information:
Web: http://www.closeupmagicsymposium.com/Â
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagicSymposium

President of Honor: Obie O'Brien

President: Giacomo Bertini

Executive Assistant: Jean Emmanuel Franzis

Patrick Dessi
Miguel Angel Gea
Francis Tabary
Aldo Ghiurmino
Andrea Pancotti
Francesco Addeo
Angelo Mirra

Flip Hallema (Guest of Honor)
Tom Stone
Roberto Giobbi
Henry Evans
Francis Tabary
Giacomo Bertini
Roman Garcia
Eric Jones
Camilo Vazquez
Hernan Maccagno
Wolf Waldbauer
Pipo Villanueva
Lawrens Godon
Jean Emmanuel Franzis
Alex Conradi
Francesco Addeo
Patrick Dessi
Diego Allegri
Gianfranco Preverino
Sergio Starman
Mario Lopez
Rune Carlsen
Jose Castineiras
Yuri Kaine
Toni Polli
Eugenio DellAnno
Angelo Mirra
Tristan Mory
Mario Raso
Auke Van Dokkum
Roland Barthelemy

7. Remarkable Magic #359 - Nick Lewin
Message by Nick Lewin (US)

Magic at the Castle.

Since I penned my last column I had the pleasure of performing for three nights in the Peller Theatre at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. I thought this might be a perfect opportunity to make a few first hand observations about the ways in which our beloved clubhouse has changed since I first performed there over forty years ago.

First and foremost the Castle is a very, very successful nightclub destination now! It was packed each of the nights I appeared there and the clientele were for the most part young, attractive and spending a bunch of money! The Castle is an expensive evening out for an average couple, but the novelty it supplies seems to make it a huge hit with everyone attending.

While watching magic is certainly one of the pleasures for first time visitors, I strongly suspect that the reason for the recent spectacular upswing in the Castle's fortunes has more to do with its unique structure. It is a perfect "first date," or "group venue" and everyone attending seemed to be having fun navigating their way through the many exciting treats that the building offers.

The AMA seems to have finally really got the food thing down! Everyone seemed delighted with the dining options, and this was certainly not always the case. While working I didn't sample other than the bar food and it was great. I could dine on their burgers and truffle fries anytime, and the garlic bread is as good as "The Smokehouse" in Burbank--- high praise indeed!

The drink prices are certainly no bargain, maybe I am out of touch with Los Angeles prices, but it certainly didn't in any way deter the visitors from drinking a LOT of alcohol. In those early '70s days we always semi-jokingly referred to the Castle as a "Disneyland for Drunks," but it now seems like the hippest theme club in town. I really think this is a great testimony to the careful shaping and revisionism that has been lavished on the club. In many ways it might be highly appropriate to refer to it as "The New Castle," and maybe that is a part of the somewhat controversial rebranding that is going on there.

One of the qualities we loved about those early Castle years was the quirky and amateurish way in which it not only survived but also seemed to thrive---seemingly in spite of itself. The Castle is now very slick indeed and those "bumble bee flying in the face of all odds" days are long gone. Maybe I am just showing my age when I mention that I miss them. However, that original "crazy dream" has an amazing longevity and I sincerely hope that the new Castle doesn't have the problem of becoming yesterday's hot spot in the mind of its trendy new patrons. Of course the Castle does have the benefit of dues paying members who also hand out the guest cards that fill the club.

As a performer I was knocked out by the professional manner in which I was treated by the club, it has gone to great lengths to plan what you need and give it to you. A lot of this thoughtful and careful consideration is evident in the detailed and precise manner in which entertainment director Jack Goldfinger communicates with his performers. Not only is his written work "spot on" but he was there every night to make sure things went smoothly. Bravo Jack.

There was plenty of great magic going on in the various showrooms last week but due to the pressures of doing three shows a night I hardly got to see any of it. However I could tell by the overwhelming approval from members and guests alike that I was missing some treats. I am particularly sorry to have missed Danny Orleans and Jan, who were blowing minds left and right with their two-person mindreading set in the Parlour.

I had the huge pleasure of working in the Peller with the great Jon Stetson presenting his dazzling comedy and mindreading show. Jon is the ultimate pro and quite simply one of the finest performers on the contemporary scene. I added my, rather uncharacteristically serious, sleight of hand into the mix and we delivered an interesting and unusual 40-minute show for the tiny audience in the little jewel box showroom. The last time my old buddy Jon and I worked together was at the fabulous Mystery Lounge in Boston, and we turned the energy down a little in the Peller from that gig or we might well have caused the room to implode!

What would the Castle be without the chance to mix with some of your favorite magicians and it was a special delight to get to spend some quality time with Andrew Goldenhersh, Steve Mitchell and the legendary Piet Paulo. Each night the magic conversation and reminisces ran to 4.00 in the morning and left us wishing we had the ability to keep our eyes open longer!

It was a fun filled three days and I enjoyed it immensely. As a long term Magic Castle member I would be lying if I didn't say there are things I miss from the "Good Old Days…" but in honesty most of the changes are for the better and it certainly does one a power of good to see magic presented so successfully to so many people. Viva La Castle…

You can check out my online store at www.lewinenterprises.net
You can reach me personally at nicklewin1@mac.com

8. MAGIC Live 2015!
Message by Stan Allen, Editor of MAGIC Magazine

The next MAGIC Live will be in Las Vegas, August 9-12, 2015, with the same registration rate of $385. Alumni Registration (for those who attended our 2013 event) is now open.

If early numbers are any indication, it looks like "everybody's gonna be here!" And the MAGIC Live team is already coming up with some great surprises.

General Registration opens on Monday, June 16, noon Pacific Time. An $85 deposit holds your spot. Visit www.MAGICmagazine.com/Live and join the party!

9. Update On The 'Tribute To Tihany' Show
Message by Paul Stone

The line-up for the Tribute Show at the Orleans Hotel & Casino on Sunday September 14th for Circus legend TIHANY has now been finalised.

The show features Master Magician Lance Burton, the incredible quick change artists Sos & Victoria, Wolfgang on the German wheel, the Hula artistry of Yelena Larkina, Illusionist Star Kevin James, Legendary Juggler Kris Kremo, the unique hand shadows of Sonny Fontana, from the MJ One Show Xavier Mortimer, Las Vegas Headliner Jan Rouven, Magic
Magazine's Stan Allen, American Idol Star Jasmine Trias, and hosted by British singing sensation Ben Stone. The Show starts at 8pm.

All tickets are $30 including tax and are available from the Orleans Box Office Direct number on 702 365 7070 or by visiting the Orleans Box Office. Tickets are also available online at www.orleanscasino.com

10. The Friendliest Magic Convention In Australia
Message by Phil Ahrens (Australia)

It's on Again!

The Friendliest Magic Convention in Australia.

Friday October 10th to Sunday October 12th 2014.

Featuring the Magic of Daryl (USA), Mark Byrne (USA), James Sleight & Dave Lord (AUS)

The Combined Magic Clubs of Adelaide, invite magicians, performers and clowns to the friendliest magic convention in Australia. Two and a half days of magic, lectures, competitions, International Gala Show, magic dealers and great magic fun!

We have four great magicians with totally different styles presenting their ideas on how to improve your magical performances.

All four magicians have close-up, stand-up and stage experience so we are in for a whole weekend of great magic.

There will be a total of 7 different lectures.

Once again, we are holding the function at the fabulous Lakes Resort Hotel.

Convention registration is $325 (AUD) for magicians, spouse $290 (AUD) and $305 (AUD) for juniors.

This all inclusive price covers the convention, demonstrations, lectures, competitions, lunches, morning and afternoon teas, and one ticket to our Banquet/Gala Show on Saturday Night with performances by our International lecturers and local artists. Registration and more information at: http://www.bombsheltermagic.com/

11. Broken Wand - Robert (Bob) G. Elgas
Message by Grant Archibald

Robert (Bob) G. Elgas
Elgas The Wizard
DOB July 3, 1929 DOD October 22 2013

Bob Elgas, was known as Elgas The Wizard. Bob tuned and repaired pianos by trade and owned the Piano Store in Las Vegas that housed Liberachi's Rhinestone Piano! Bob also tuned pianos for such people as Roger Williams as well as other luminous entertainers & dignitaries in the entertainment field. Elgas was proprietor of the Magic & Music Hall of Fame, which was located on the second floor of the old Fitzgerald Casino in Las Vegas.

Elgas The Wizard, whose uncle was the Great Nicola was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 3, 1929. He served in the U.S. Army, as part of the Musicians Corp. After getting out of the Army, he opened The Baldwin Piano Store in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Elgas built his own illusions. His wood craft he picked up from his father, Steve, who boasted he built half the houses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

Elgas was involved with The Knights of Columbus, as well as The Barber Shop Singers. He was a member in The International Brotherhood of Magicians. He owned a magic store in Colorado Springs, as well as a Magic Theater at his store & shop, where he rebuilt pianos and built magic illusions for other magicians!

Elgas had the distinction of doing a two hour stage show! It was a full evening worth of Entertainment! It took 8 hours set-up time and a Moving van to haul his Ten-Ton worth of show down the road! His show opened to the voice of Lowell Thomas. After his Intro, Elgas would appear in a puff of smoke, in his black Wizard Robe, where the delightful two hour show would pursue!

He was preceded in death by his son, Larry Elgas, who was the driving force behind his show!

Date of Burial inurnment will be Tuesday September 2, 2014
at 3:30 PM. At Evergreen Cemetery, Fairview Blk) Space 129.
1005 Hancock Expressway, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903

A reception will follow at The Fraternal Order Of Eagles, Eastside Aerie 3260, 1830 North Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909

Inquiries can be made at elgasthewizard@hotmail.com
Good Bye My Friend
Grant Shadowjack Archibald

12. The Historic North Theatre Celebrates Two Year Anniversary
Message by Wayne Alan

The Historic North Theatre
Performing Arts Center
Est. 1947
Main Theatre, Balcony Mini Theatre,
Restaurant & Bar, Gallery, Gift Shop and Celebrity B&B
629 North Main Street, Danville, VA 24540
Phone 434-793-SHOW (7469) www.TheNorthTheatre.com

Contact: Wayne Alan-434-793-SHOW (7469)

The Historic North Theatre celebrates two year anniversary

August 25, 2014-Danville, VA-Today celebrity magician and World Champion Illusionist Wayne Alan, the owner of The Historic North Theatre, celebrates the two year anniversary of the reopening of the theatre. This is the 67th Anniversary of the opening of the North in 1947. To celebrate the event, they will present Bruce In The USA on Aug. 31 at 8:00 PM. This Bruce Springsteen tribute band is much more than just another tribute. This high-energy musical experience is a note-perfect and visually accurate recreation of a Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band show. Matt Ryan, from the World Famous "Legends In Concert" cast, played the Springsteen character for eight years, in their "full scale" Las Vegas show. The great success with "Legends" evolved his character into the Bruce In The USA show. His amazing portrayal of "The Boss" (not to mention his jaw-dropping resemblance) is as close as you can get to see the real thing in concert. Backed by a strong, powerful Clarence "The Big Man" Clemence and a smokin' handed "Little Stevie", Bruce In The USA takes this genre of performance art to a whole new level, making it the World's #1 Tribute to the E. Street Band's legacy.

Before the Bruce in the USA show at 6:30 PM there will be a pre-show party in the balcony lounge and show ticket holders are invited to celebrate with us as we "cut the cake" to mark the second anniversary. Tickets for Bruce in the USA are $23.00, 20.00 and 17.00. Tickets can be purchased on the theatre's website: www.TheNorthTheatre.com or by calling the box office at 434-793-SHOW (7469).

In the past year since owning this performing arts center Mr. Alan has overseen much growth and progress at the theatre. He said, "We are proud that we brought to Danville the off-Broadway national touring production of "Menopause the Musical", we started a monthly comedy show featuring good clean fun with top comedians on the 2nd Friday of each month and opened the Moon River Thai Bistro at the Historic North Theatre. We also have more than tripled our email mailing list and likes on Facebook." The theatre joined the Virginia Motorcoach Association and is working with operators in VA, NC & SC to bring buses of tourists to Danville to see their shows. The theatre kicked off and is spearheading a program of revitalization of the North Main area around the theatre and hopes to turn it into the Danville Arts District. Acclaimed director/producer Mimi Johnson Grubb, who directs the theatre's youth camps and shows, has joined the staff as Artistic Director. Alan Holt is on staff as the Technical Director and Debbie Bernas as the Book Office Manager.

In the next year the theatre will continue their monthly comedy shows on the 2nd Friday of each month, Wayne Alan's Magic Shows on the 2nd Saturday of each month, plus their hit show the Magic of Christmas climaxing with a Living Nativity on stage. The award winning youth theatre program will also continue. The annual Houdini Festival, haunted house and All Hallows/Halloween Magic Shows will also remain on the show calendar. They will also continue to host top celebrity touring concerts and shows.

In the future they will be starting a new series of shows called "Direct from the Kennedy Center" which will feature performers who have appeared at the nation's top theatre. They will also produce in house three Broadway musicals, Godspell, The Fantastics, and Grease. A full season VIP Subscription Series will be made available. Plus they have plans for an annual Camellia Williams Opera & Music Festival. Wayne Alan said, "Our goal is to provide top quality, wholesome and family friendly entertainment. We will continue to strive to live up to the North's first advertisement in the 1947 newspaper: "Visit Danville's new and finest theatre for the best in entertainment."

The balcony lounge area is being decorated to become the "VIP Lounge" showcasing celebrities with connections to Danville and Virginia. Food with wine, beer and mixed drinks will be available. Mr. Alan said, "The idea is to give it the feel of old Hollywood glamour, sort of Hollywood Brown Derby meets Hard Rock Café with a little Planet Hollywood thrown in." The VIP Lounge and the art gallery make for a great special events area for meetings, private dinners and special events.

Mr. Alan, the owner of the Historic North Theatre is only American to ever win the gold medal for Grand Illusion at FISM, the World Championship of Magic, which is considered the Olympics of Magic. He has also appeared numerous times on national TV and 13 ½ times at the White House.

13. Updates So Far This Week on VanishLive.com
Message by - Mick Peck
Online Content Editor

Latest updates on VanishLive.com include:

- Magician Makes Bus Appear - No Reaction...
- Blaine Performs For Dangerous Inmates
- MINDvention Mentalism Convention Update
- Have a Set List: Cris Johnson
- Dynamo On Why He Needs To Disappear From TV
- Show Needs Magicians To Think On Their Feet
- Justin Flom's New SyFy Series
- Distorted Visions By Jack Curtis
- Looking Back: Keith Fields

DAILY magic news, articles from around the world and reviews from working professional magicians.

Video of the Week: Christian Cagigal live at The Magic Castle March 2014.

Visit us today at:

- Mick Peck
Online Content Editor

14. The Illusionists 2.0 - Auckland New Zealand
The future of magic IS HERE!
2 to 13 September
Live at The Civic, Auckland

The next generation of magic is in town! The Illusionists 2.0 -- a stunning sequel to the box-office smashing 2013 season of The Illusionists - is announced for Auckland's The Civic theatre this month.

Featuring seven masters of mental and optical illusion, The Illusionists 2.0 is a brand new production that will propel New Zealand audiences into the future of magic and illusion, using cutting-edge visual effects.

A fast-paced, high-energy powerhouse performance, The Illusionists 2.0 gives audiences the chance to witness the magical genius of the world's greatest stars and their genre, each with a unique skill that has won them countless fans globally.

Whether it's the deadly arts of The Warrior, or the high-risk tricks and stunts of The Deceptionist, The Illusionists 2.0 will leave audiences rubbing their eyes in disbelief. Edgy, exciting and most of all fun, it's the perfect live entertainment show.

'Forget abracadabra and rabbits jumping out of hats because The Illusionists 2.0 will make you question whether Harry Potter really is the chosen one.'
Adelaide Advertiser

Venue - The Civic
Season - From Tuesday 2 September to Saturday 13 September
Times: - Tues & Sun, 6.30pm, Wed to Sat 7.30pm,
Matinees - Sat, 2.30pm, Sun, 1pm
Bookings - 0800 111 999 or ticketmaster.co.nz
Tickets: - From $69.90*
Family and Under 16 ticket prices available

15. Adrien Brody Prepares 'Houdini' Mini-Series
Article forwarded on by Mel Kientz (US)

The New York Times

Seeking to Escape From His Image
Adrien Brody Prepares
'Houdini' Mini-Series

By Brooks Barnesaug

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - It's not because the guy needs an acting coach. He can be mesmerizing on screen and has an Oscar to prove it. His work ethic is most definitely not the reason. He starved himself for one part, gained 25 pounds for another and has gone to other extremes - wetting his pants, for instance - when a role has required it.

He has a reputation in Hollywood as loyal and affable. Women seem to find him sexy, at least judging by the knockouts he dates.

So why has Adrien Brody's studio career been in such a lull? Despite appearing in smaller films like Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel" and landing the title role in the History Channel's coming "Houdini" mini-series, Mr. Brody, 41, has only been in one major studio film in the last nine years: "Predators," a science-fiction movie from 20th Century Fox.

"I think that perhaps I have confused people with my approach to work," Mr. Brody said. "There are people who make a career in Hollywood by being a type. They earn more money. They have more opportunities. But I don't think actors should restrict themselves that way."

In an alternate universe - one where Hollywood lets men with character-actor faces play romantic leads, and studios make casting decisions based on talent and not foreign box-office algorithms - Mr. Brody would most likely be able to play any part he wanted. But this is reality, darn it, and instead of wallowing in frustration, Mr. Brody seems to have decided to roll with the punches.

"I'd love to be doing movies with scope and scale, but as much as I do think studios appreciate me as an actor, they are not coming directly to me," he said, speaking from a nook at the Sunset Marquis Hotel here. "I can't wait for the tide. I have to swim."

He sure is working a lot. Mr. Brody has six independent films in various states of completion, including "The Septembers of Shiraz," a movie about an affluent Jewish family caught in Iran's Islamic Revolution that has "awards run" written all over it. (Producers hope to introduce it at either the Cannes or Berlin film festival next year.) A few months ago, Mr. Brody formed his own production company, which has $50 million in funding from a Nigerian energy magnate, Kola Aluko, and an anonymous Chinese investor; it aims to make movies with significant box-office prospects, sometimes in partnership with studios.

"The goal is to develop the material that I crave that doesn't necessarily come to me," Mr. Brody said of his new company, Fable House. "The projects will all have me in a pivotal role, whether directing, producing or being a protagonist in the film. China is a particular focus. I'm big in China for some reason. It's kind of weird."

And he is taking a calculated risk with "Houdini," which the History Channel will run for two nights starting Sept. 1. The mini-series tells the entire Harry Houdini tale, from his unsuccessful start as a carnival magician to global celebrity as an escape artist to his later years wrestling with the spiritualism movement. Kristen Connolly, known for playing a congressional staffer on "House of Cards," appears as Houdini's wife, Bess.

"Adrien is definitely somebody who fully immerses himself in a role," said Dirk Hoogstra, the History Channel's general manager. "We had to make sure that he didn't immerse himself too far, like locking himself up under water."

When Mr. Brody pushed his agents to bring him a big role that would be widely seen, television was not exactly what he had in mind. He had worked continuously in film since his teenage years, winning best actor at 29 for his Nazi-tormented musician in "The Pianist." But his representatives argued that TV was a valuable opportunity. In success, "Houdini" could put Mr. Brody's acting talents in front of more than 15 million viewers and tap Hollywood on the shoulder: This guy can anchor a major project.

Other Oscar-caliber performers were also doing television, Mr. Brody's agents noted. Glenn Close, a six-time Oscar nominee, did it with "Damages." Kevin Costner, a two-time Oscar winner for "Dances With Wolves," starred in the History Channel's successful "Hatfields & McCoys." And Halle Berry, with whom Mr. Brody will always be linked, given the surprise lip lock he planted on her when he claimed his trophy at the 2003 Academy Awards, had just signed up to do the CBS mini-series "Extant."

Lackluster ratings could hurt, of course. (Just ask Ms. Berry, whose "Extant" ended up flopping.) Poor reviews were also a worry, albeit a more minor one.

In the end, Mr. Brody - true to form - could not resist the chance to dig into a complex, tormented character. Harry Houdini had long been one of Mr. Brody's favorite figures, dating back to his boyhood in New York City, when he put on magic shows in Queens as "the Amazing Adrien." He went to magic camp, performed at children's birthday parties and practiced on editors at The Village Voice, where his mother, Sylvia Plachy, was a photographer.

"I idolized Houdini as a kid," Mr. Brody said, breaking into a crooked grin. "He was the original action hero." (Obscure fact: Mr. Brody played a kidnapper named Harry Houdini in "Oxygen," a little-seen crime thriller from 1999.)

When Mr. Brody rolled up to the Sunset Marquis with hat hair and an oh-so-healthy green juice drink, I did not know what to expect. A new member of his professional coterie, a smart young Rogers & Cowan publicist, had said he was eager to talk candidly about his career. But celebrities tend to have a different definition of candid than reporters. Some older interviews and profiles were also troubling, painting Mr. Brody as a bit of a crank. Then there was the castle.

In 2007, as a birthday surprise to a Spanish actress named Elsa Pataky, then his girlfriend, Mr. Brody bought a castle-esque house in central New York. They then made the regrettable decision to show it off in a tacky 35-page Hello! magazine spread.

And what about the hip-hop? Mr. Brody also likes to work on hip-hop beats in his spare time. He is a friend of RZA, the rap impresario behind the Wu-Tang Clan. "You an ill cat," P. Diddy once told Mr. Brody after listening to his music.

It was all a bit hard to square. Until Mr. Brody arrived.

The man who strode into the Sunset Marquis this month was funny, warm, sensitive and a bit manic, which he said was a symptom of jet lag. He had just flown in from the Gobi Desert, where he had been filming fight scenes for "Dragon Blade," a $65 million movie that co-stars Jackie Chan. ("Jackie gave me bruises," Mr. Brody said, rolling up the sleeve of his shirt to offer evidence. "It was kind of awesome.")

Three days before arriving in China, he had been in Bulgaria filming an especially harrowing "Septembers of Shiraz" scene; the script called for his character to lose control of his bladder while facing a firing squad. ("They gave me an apparatus to fake it, but I said, 'No, I will do it.' ")

Mr. Brody was certainly ready to talk. And talk. At one point, I wondered if I had stumbled upon That Guy You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party. But no. Mr. Brody, it became clear, simply has more emotion than he knows what to do with. While a lot of actors are rather one dimensional off screen, he is refreshingly the opposite. His broad interests (he also likes fast cars, sometimes participating in celebrity races) make it hard to squeeze his personality into a prefabricated narrative, a specialty of the celebrity news media. Suddenly, the career frustration is entirely understandable: Hollywood wants to keep Mr. Brody in the serious box, but he keeps banging on the walls and insisting he is more than that - and he is right.

"Many people have commented or criticized or been curious or confused about some of my movie choice," he said. "I don't understand that. The concept of something being an odd choice is odd to me."

Mr. Brody was definitely candid. Did it mess with his head to win an Oscar at 29? "It was beautiful but also frightening," he said. "It made me really afraid, on a lot of levels. I even stayed in a relationship that clearly didn't work, because I was afraid that nobody would ever again love me for me."

He has long wanted to act in commercial movies. After "The Pianist," his former agents helped him land films that seemed like awfully good bets on paper, including "King Kong," directed by Peter Jackson, who had just completed the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But Mr. Brody was unlucky. The over-budget and overlong "King Kong" took in $672 million worldwide in 2005, after adjusting for inflation, but Hollywood deemed it a bloated misfire.

In the last five years, Mr. Brody has appeared in 12 movies. Two went straight to DVD. Five took in less than $1 million each at the global box office, including "High School," a stoner comedy in which he played a drug dealer named Psycho Ed. One was downright terrible: "InAPPropriate Comedy," which found him cavorting in pink hot pants as a giant gay stereotype; the movie got a zero on the RottenTomatoes.com review scale.

"That was an experiment that was never supposed to be released," he said. "I'm embarrassed by it." One recent highlight was Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." Most of the other bright spots have come in Wes Anderson films - "The Darjeeling Limited," "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" (Mr. Brody voiced the field mouse) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which took in more than $171 million worldwide. Mr. Anderson said in an email that he first noticed Mr. Brody in Steven Soderbergh's 1993 drama "The King of the Hill."

"He made an immediate impression," Mr. Anderson said. "He was great in this role, gentle and heroic. And there was this wonderful face we had never seen before, and one of the great voices, too." Mr. Anderson said he considers Mr. Brody "family."

Regardless of whether "Houdini" is a hit, Mr. Brody said he is proud of the work he did in the mini-series. He does have one quibble, though. The History Channel decided to disclose the secret methods Houdini used to escape. "I acquiesced because it's all available online," he said. "But a magician never reveals his tricks."

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Privacy Policy and Copyright Notice

Our subscriber list is not made available to any other companies or individuals. We value every subscriber and respect your privacy. You can subscribe to or unsubscribe from the Magic New Zealand® E-zine at www.magicnewzealand.com Magic New Zealand® E-zine is published each Sunday. The opinions expressed therein are those of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of Magic New Zealand®. Neither Magic New Zealand® nor Alan Watson vouch for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, message, statement, or other information reported via Magic New Zealand® E-zine. Subscribers to this publication and authors who contribute to it by doing so agree they will not hold Magic New Zealand® or Alan Watson, jointly or individually liable or responsible in any way for the opinions expressed therein.
Magic New Zealand® reserves the right to alter, correct or disregard any articles submitted. Readers are encouraged to submit timely articles or news items which may be of interest to subscribers. By submitting articles to this e-zine, the authors grant Magic New Zealand® the right to publish such articles and such authors confirm their copyright of the material submitted. All works published by Magic New Zealand® are protected by international copyright legislation and articles must not be published for profit by anyone other than the individual authors without the written permission of Magic New Zealand®. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this publication may be freely redistributed, but not sold, to other magicians if copied in its entirety, including the copyright notice below and the above disclaimer.

Copyright © 2014 Alan Watson.

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