When Moviefone stopped by the set of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” Olivia Wilde told us she was shocked to have landed a pivotal role in a comedy starring legendary funnymen Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, who play rival magicians, both of whom Wilde’s character ends up assisting.
When she sat down during a roundtable discussion to talk about her character, she was simply dressed, unlike her red and black “luchador” outfit from the film. The scene that was being shot that day is the one where Carell’s assistant quits suddenly and he recruits stagehand Wilde and forcibly shoves her into the sexy costume and out onto the stage for the first time.
No crazy costume for you?
Wilde: Oh, no, not today. Actually, yes today. In this scene I’m changing into an outrageous costume, so we see the transformation happen, which is kind of fun. But the good thing about this is that we all wear outrageous costumes and we all wear wigs. Usually that’s left to the women, but in this one men get to share the burden, which is great.
What’s you character Jane like?
She’s very smart and she’s confident, and yet she’s a secret magician. She doesn’t reveal that she’s a magician in her own right until very late in the game. She’s quietly brilliant on her best days [Laughs]. She’s a little bit crippled by insecurity.
What is it like improvising with Steve Carell?
I think the reason it’s really fun to improv with Steve is that he’s not playing a game of solitaire. He’s very giving, he’s very generous. He’s kind of lobbing you the ball. I think he’s a comedic genius who is really creating a fair playing field so that you have the chance to hit the ball back and have fun with it. It’s not like he’s trying to challenge you or dodge you, he’s actually trying to rally. I’m using all these tennis metaphors! I don’t play tennis! I just think that he makes it fun and all you have to do is listen and react and never say, “Yes, and…” You just go back to your basic training in improv. It’s been really interesting for me to learn from all the different types of comedians in this movie. Steve Carell is so different than someone like Jim Carrey. To get the experience of improv-ing with both of them has been really tremendous for me. I’m just floored every day. I just can’t believe I’m here.
What’s it like working with Jim Carrey?
He’s wonderful! It’s sort of surreal to be eating lunch next to Jim Carrey and then go shoot a scene with him. He’s a comedy god; all of these guys are. But really, Jim Carrey, I grew up watching him. “Ace Ventura” blew my mind. To be with him and witness the process is such an extraordinary thing. I mean, he is a perfectionist. He is so incredibly physical, and in control of his physical comedy. It’s like watching a dancer. It’s amazing. He’s always at 100 percent. I think I’ve seen “Dumb and Dumber” 47 times at least. Now to be able to watch what it takes to reach those heights with all these people… Comedy is fun to make, but it’s taken as seriously as drama. I’m learning that in a really wonderful way and I’m hoping that this isn’t the last time that I get to do that.
How did you get involved with this movie?
I read the script a while ago and really loved it. I was really interested, not only because of the cast, which is obviously extraordinary and contains many of my idols. I thought it was a great role for me. It was something I hadn’t done before. I went after it, I auditioned, I was up against some real heavy hitters and I was totally shocked when I got the role, because it’s a comedic role and I was going up against some real comedians. I sort of thought I didn’t have a chance in hell, but it was so fun to just audition for it I just thought I’d go for it and take a chance.
Were you a fan of magic when you were a kid?
Yeah, in fact all my birthday parties had a magician. I loved it. I had the magic set. I just got the latest version and it hasn’t changed since we all were kids. It’s the balls, the cup, the string, the knot trick. It’s all the same, which leads me to believe that enthusiasm for the simplicity of magic and the wonderment still exists as much as it did even with the Internet and all these new distractions. I think the enthusiasm for it is something people of all different ages can appreciate, which is why I think this movie will work, and because it’s hilarious. I mean I can’t believe a movie hasn’t been made – a comedy, I should say, hasn’t been made – about Vegas magicians. I thought the concept was really out there, but then we went to Vegas and we realized this is really a documentary.