By Sarah Sluis
Recently, I've developed a bit of a Morgan Freeman obsession. On television, I keep finding his voiceovers left and right. It's a rare person who wasn't won over pre-DVR by his starring role in cable TV favorite The Shawshank Redemption. His voice is rich and reserved, authoritative but twinkling. He just may be the best narrator out there. I recently took a look at his Alex Cross films (Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls) on the announcement that Tyler Perry plans to star in a reboot of the franchise, I, Alex Cross. They're generic, formulaic detective movies that date quickly, but they're also films in which Freeman gets to play the character he's honed so well over the years: wise, competent, and always ready to save the day.
Now You See Me centers on a couple of FBI agents who are trying to take down a quartet of magicians who carry out bank heists during their performances, ending by distributing the money to the attendees. Freeman will play a former magician who now gives away the secrets behind the tricks, an action that makes him reviled in the magic community. Freeman as a wise, behind-the-scenes guy who has more insight into what's going on than anyone else? Sounds like the perfect Freeman role to me.
Besides Freeman, Mark Ruffalo has signed on to play one of the FBI agents for the Summit Entertainment project. Jesse Eisenberg will play the cocky ringleader of the magicians (presumably employing his mile-a-minute delivery) and Amanda Seyfried and Melanie Laurent will play femme fatales. Though the cast is top-notch, the writing/directing team has a less than stellar track record. Director Louis Leterrier helmed the ill-fated Clash of the Titans, the poster child for poor 3D conversions, as well as The Transporter and its sequel. His record is pure action, but is he hungry to prove himself dramatically? The screenwriting team of Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt also gives little indication of their capability. Yakin has writing, directing, and producing credits on a variety of films, including Uptown Girls (director, executive producer), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (writer), and the documentary Bombay Beach (producer). Ricourt is a new talent, with no finished films but four scripts to his name on IMDB, which range from sci-fi to thriller to literary adaptation. There's no telling what shape the project Now You See Me might take, but one thing's for sure. Freeman will be there, lending his wise and comforting presence.