Woody Harrelson and Presentation

Oct 24, 2008
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Savannah, GA
Woody Harrelson was on Letterman promoting his new movie, in which he plays a mentalist. Apparently, he studied some mentalism and hypnosis in preparation for the role.

Here's a clip, where he does Hoy's book test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6eICRkRtGQ

There's a kind of simplicity to the effect, as presented. He just gets into it with minimal patter or presentation. There's some generic psychic undertones, maybe a little body language reading with the vowels(my favorite part) and a really relaxed approach that sold the whole thing.

I'm torn, on this. On one hand, he really underscored the whole "it's a trick" aspect by just launching into it with no real discussion or story, or drama, no real logic to it - yet at the same time, it was clean, efficient, and didn't seem to suffer. As someone who's trying to make the leap to mentalism, and especially after reading some of Cassidy's stuff, this is really interesting to me.

How would y'all rate his performance?
 
Aug 17, 2010
411
4
I liked it fine.

The big unasked question in performances is "who is this guy and why is he doing this for us right now". Giving the audience answers to this question is crucial; otherwise, they'll likely assume that "this is some guy trying to prove he can do magic/mentalism/psychic powers/whatever" and sets the audinece in the role of judge, to see if he can do it or not. This a a terrible situation to perform in; you might as well give them scorecards.

In this clip, the format of the show answers this so not much lead in is necessary - he's a well-known actor, and Dave set him up to demonstrate a routine. He doesn't have to provide a motivation for the routine, and his character is already established.
 
Jan 1, 2009
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Back in Time
They're just there to promote their movie, not perform magic tricks. So I don't really blame Jesse for screwing it up. Like Isla Fisher mentioned in her interview on Leno. If she screws it up, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go and see the movie.
 

Luis Vega

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Mar 19, 2008
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Wow...Jesse Eisenberg performance was quite bad... he speaks like "ok, ok, ok, ok"...he stutters a lot!! and that´s desperating...

I perform in television regularly... and to be honest it seems like he has never been on tv before... which is not true... also the trick is totally exposed!!... he should have been aware of the angles... pheww...

Anyway... I think that even when is an actor, playing the part of the magician in the movie... he should at least have one trick down...It seems like he is trying to be funny... but it comes out as a nervous guy who doesn´t know what to do or say... and I am not even saying this for the magic... but all the appearance as a whole...it sucked...


for anyone who wants to see it...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mEu5-rX0LU
 
Apr 20, 2013
71
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I don't blame Jesse for his poor performance in the show.
He is promoting his movie, not himself as a magician.
He is playing as a magician in the movie, not BECOMING one.
And also, if you're kind of offended by what he is doing (flashing the secrets), what would you feel when you watch Magic Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed by the Masked Magician ( Val Valentino ) ?

Woody's Hoy's book test though was impressive!
He actually did one thing that most magician actually kind of losing : He keeps in the Element of surprise!
He is casual, did not need any cheesy introduction, and everyone's entertained!

that's only my 2-cents though.
-SinCera
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
In this clip, the format of the show answers this so not much lead in is necessary - he's a well-known actor, and Dave set him up to demonstrate a routine. He doesn't have to provide a motivation for the routine, and his character is already established.

This is true. Woody is a veteran actor with a great sense of timing and character. As goofy as some of his roles have been, he still knows when to understate it and when to go gonzo. People already know who Woody is, so he didn't need to waste a lot of preamble setting us up. This is a luxury most of us don't have.
 

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
1,795
188
35
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
luisvega.com.mx
I don't blame Jesse for his poor performance in the show.
He is promoting his movie, not himself as a magician.
He is playing as a magician in the movie, not BECOMING one.
And also, if you're kind of offended by what he is doing (flashing the secrets), what would you feel when you watch Magic Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed by the Masked Magician ( Val Valentino ) ?

Woody's Hoy's book test though was impressive!
He actually did one thing that most magician actually kind of losing : He keeps in the Element of surprise!
He is casual, did not need any cheesy introduction, and everyone's entertained!

that's only my 2-cents though.
-SinCera

I am not offended... but I would kick his ass if I see him... because he is promoting a movie where he is a magician... he could at least learned one good trick... and he acted all weird and stupid...

About the masked magician?... I am not mad about that... since I learn a lot of new tricks!! jajajaja...just kidding... that´s old news... everything has been said about him


that´s only my 3 cents!!!
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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I am not offended... but I would kick his ass if I see him... because he is promoting a movie where he is a magician... he could at least learned one good trick... and he acted all weird and stupid...

Kick his ass? Really? Because he's not a good magician? Big man. When you can act well enough to get the roles he's done, you can critique his ability to do magic.

It may come as a surprise to you, but a lot of the guys in action movies aren't amazing martial artists. People who play the President? Nope, they probably couldn't lead the country. George Clooney probably couldn't plan an elaborate casino heist.

You're being absurd. Jesse is an actor, not a magician. We may obsessively practice our tricks and study things like angles and timing and such. But he's trained to ignore cameras and not even worry that they are there.

As for acting 'all weird and stupid' ... Have you seen anything he's in? Have you seen any of his interviews? He clearly has an awkward personality. But I tell you what, I'll take awkward personality over the bully you're being any day.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
Kick his ass? Really? Because he's not a good magician? Big man. When you can act well enough to get the roles he's done, you can critique his ability to do magic.

It may come as a surprise to you, but a lot of the guys in action movies aren't amazing martial artists. People who play the President? Nope, they probably couldn't lead the country. George Clooney probably couldn't plan an elaborate casino heist.

You're being absurd. Jesse is an actor, not a magician. We may obsessively practice our tricks and study things like angles and timing and such. But he's trained to ignore cameras and not even worry that they are there.

As for acting 'all weird and stupid' ... Have you seen anything he's in? Have you seen any of his interviews? He clearly has an awkward personality. But I tell you what, I'll take awkward personality over the bully you're being any day.

Pretty much my point. He didn't go on the show to perform magic or show that he can do magic. He went there to simply promote his movie. So I would cut him some slack for not being a very good magician, because he's not one.
 
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Sep 1, 2007
3,818
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As for acting 'all weird and stupid' ... Have you seen anything he's in? Have you seen any of his interviews? He clearly has an awkward personality. But I tell you what, I'll take awkward personality over the bully you're being any day.

Talented character actor though. Loved him in The Social Network.

I think a lot of us need to back up and remember that no one will ever give as much of a **** about this as we do. No one. Getting pissed off because Jesse Eisenberg screwed up a card trick on TV is a waste of emotional energy. It's not his job to make us look good. It's our job.
 
Dec 29, 2011
703
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Talented character actor though. Loved him in The Social Network.

I think a lot of us need to back up and remember that no one will ever give as much of a **** about this as we do. No one. Getting pissed off because Jesse Eisenberg screwed up a card trick on TV is a waste of emotional energy. It's not his job to make us look good. It's our job.

Your opinion so often strikes dead on with mine, so I'm just going to add one little thing, sure its up to us to make it good, but when someone who is not a magician tries to do magic, does it not make us look even better?
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,736
2,851
Your opinion so often strikes dead on with mine, so I'm just going to add one little thing, sure its up to us to make it good, but when someone who is not a magician tries to do magic, does it not make us look even better?

Only if we are able to handle it properly. Social skills are very important to an entertainer.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
Your opinion so often strikes dead on with mine, so I'm just going to add one little thing, sure its up to us to make it good, but when someone who is not a magician tries to do magic, does it not make us look even better?

It doesn't make us look like anything. I doubt when The Prestige came out, that people thought stage magicians REALLY did that kind of stuff. Or when The Illusionist was out that it reflected anything on magic. The same goes for the show "The Mentalist". I don't think that has any impact on actual mentalists. (though, there are some half witted people out there that will see something on TV and believe it totally.)
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,736
2,851
It doesn't make us look like anything. I doubt when The Prestige came out, that people thought stage magicians REALLY did that kind of stuff. Or when The Illusionist was out that it reflected anything on magic. The same goes for the show "The Mentalist". I don't think that has any impact on actual mentalists. (though, there are some half witted people out there that will see something on TV and believe it totally.)

Have you actually asked people these things?

While the Prestige is obviously an exaggeration due to the CGI that was clearly used, many of the methods used in The Mentalist are actually real, or in the least based off real methods. I have been compared to Patrick Jane in the past and while I don't usually have anyone ask me to do things that say, Blaine or Angel do, I have been asked if I can do what that character does.

Categorizing those who think that it shows a realistic representation of a mentalist as "half wits" says more about you than them.
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
The same goes for the show "The Mentalist". I don't think that has any impact on actual mentalists. (though, there are some half witted people out there that will see something on TV and believe it totally.)

Awkward Silence, you are cleared for landing. Begin approach...

I haven't actually gotten around to watching a single episode of The Mentalist yet. I probably should. See, over the last couple months, I have lost track of the number of people who asked me what I do, and when I tell them they respond, "Oh like The Mentalist? I like that show." And this always segues into me giving them a quick three-minute reading or a mind reading demonstration of some variety. It's really helped me expand my mailing list.

Come to think of it, I don't believe it ever occurred to me to think of those people as "half-wits." Could be because they showed an interest in my work. Could be because they were perfectly friendly and civil to me... Could be I was just raised better than to **** on people for not having extremely specific information about esoteric subjects.

Unfortunately, it seems that every now and again we're going to have to rely on the Woody Harrelson's and the Edward Norton's and the Patrick Jane's of the world to inadvertently do some of the PR work for us. Because we sure as hell can't trust each other to do it.
 
Dec 29, 2011
703
17
It doesn't make us look like anything. I doubt when The Prestige came out, that people thought stage magicians REALLY did that kind of stuff. Or when The Illusionist was out that it reflected anything on magic. The same goes for the show "The Mentalist". I don't think that has any impact on actual mentalists. (though, there are some half witted people out there that will see something on TV and believe it totally.)

My point was more in regards to Jesse and Isla performing for promotion, they sucked, so when spectators are thinking about Jesse performing on Letterman that they saw on youtube, it makes you and your magic look better. I can see where you thought I was coming from though and agree.
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
My point was more in regards to Jesse and Isla performing for promotion, they sucked, so when spectators are thinking about Jesse performing on Letterman that they saw on youtube, it makes you and your magic look better.

I would argue that it gets forgotten completely and thus has absolutely no effect. Jesse Eisenberg is not known for being a magician. So when he screws up a card trick, people just forget because it's ultimately not important to his overall career or why anyone goes to see him in the theater. Give it two weeks, most people will have forgotten. And those who haven't probably won't care.

Again, I think we dramatically overestimate just how much capacity the public has for caring about what we do. Woody Harrelson doing a book test might make us a little more topical, even make some people curious. But no one cares as much as we do. Period. You still have to hit the pavement and put on a good show. One dude's screw up is not going to make you look better.
 
Apr 20, 2013
71
0
To sum it up, It's not Woody's or Jesse's or Isla's mistake. If their presentation or magic tricks gone wrong, they have the minimum percentage to be blamed. Unless, if I or you appeared on TV, present ourself as a magician and screw tricks up, then we are doing mistakes. They are ACTORS of a MOVIE. Not a MAGICIAN being an ACTOR in the MOVIE.
 
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