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5 questions for Steve Carell

STEVE CARELL as Burt Wonderstone New Line Cinema’s comedy “THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE” Warner Bros. Pictures release.

STEVE CARELL as Burt Wonderstone in New Line Cinema’s comedy “THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

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Updated: April 11, 2013 6:22AM

LAS VEGAS — A funny thing happened to Steve Carell while filming a pivotal scene for “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.”

“At one point, Steve Buscemi and I were suspended by a crane 60 feet in the air in a Plexiglas box,” says the actor, who plays a magician trying to find bigger and better sleight-of-hand to jump-start his career. “We were hanging over the Las Vegas Strip in magical costumes.”

No one cared.

“We figured that people would gather, but no one did,” marvels Carell. “People were on their way to the big shows, and nobody cared that we were up there.

“We actually had to pay the extras.”

But Carell plans to draw some other crowds this year. He follows up “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” with “Despicable Me 2,” where he again voices Gru, and “Anchorman: The Legend Continues.”

1 Do you see any similarities between actors and magicians?

They represent things that aren’t necessarily who they are as people.

2 What was it like shooting in Vegas?

It did inform the character. There is obviously a different vibe in Las Vegas. In fact, several times while we were filming, I walked around in my full Burt Wonderstone hair and makeup, plus a flowing velvet costume and … no one batted an eye. It led me to believe that we were on the right track with character development. On the poster, it looks ridiculous.

3 How good did you get at the actual magic?

David Copperfield and his team designed the hangman trick, which they taught me to do. In terms of sleight-of-hand, I worked for a few months with various professional magicians to get to the point where we could replicate it. These magicians have years and years of practice. I had to just get to the point where it was plausible, which was tough.

4 What is the secret of a good magic trick?

In speaking to the pros, they told me that the most important thing is the buildup to the trick. It’s about the road you take there. That’s the one thing I really tried to emulate.

5 There is life after “The Office,” in movie lead roles. Are you surprised?

I’m just happy to have this work. I don’t think of it in terms of leading roles or supporting ones. I just approach them as characters I enjoy playing. My wife knows that at best I thought I’d end up the wacky neighbor on a sitcom. All of this has been a surprise and a joy.

Cindy Pearlman

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