Mark Ruffalo

The Four Horsemen, a magic super-group led by the charismatic Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), perform a pair of high-tech magic shows, first astonishing audiences by robbing a bank on another continent, and then exposing a white-collar criminal and funneling his millions into the audience members’ bank accounts. FBI Special Agent Dylan Hobbs (Mark Ruffalo) is determined to make the magicians pay for their crimes – and to stop them before they pull off what promises to be an even more audacious heist. But he’s forced to partner with Alma (Melanie Laurent), an Interpol detective about whom he is instantly suspicious. Out of desperation he turns to Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), a famed magic debunker, who claims the bank heist was accomplished using disguises and video trickery. One thing Dylan and Alma agree on is that the Horsemen must have an outside point person, and that finding him (or her) is key to ending the magicians’ crime spree. Could it be Thaddeus? Or Alma? Or could it really be…. magic?

As pressure mounts and the world awaits the Horsemen’s spectacular final trick, Dylan and Alma race to find an answer. But it soon becomes painfully clear that staying one step ahead of these masters of illusion is beyond the skills of any one man – or woman. Opening on May 31st in the US and June 21st in the UK, ‘Now You See Me’ features a top-notch cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Common, Michael Kelly, Elias Koteas and Michael Caine. Louis Letterier (Clash of the Titans, The Transporter) directs.

What was it about your character Dylan Hobbs that appealed to you….?

Mark Ruffalo: Dylan Hobbs is a world-weary, career FBI Agent who is doggedly in pursuit of these Four Horseman, who are ripping off people – robbing banks. So, he doesn’t have any time for love or anything other than his obsession (laughs). I think he’s obsessed because he gets dogged by them, and that creates a lot of frustration in him. I think he wants to stay very close to this case and he becomes very personally involved in it over the course of the movie – deeply deeply involved in it (laughs). Dylan really does believe in the law – equal law for everybody. He’s a hard-ass about it. That is his principal motivation throughout the whole movie. But I loved his sense of humor and saltiness. My part in the movie could have been very procedural and uptight, but there’s fun there. It’s an interesting character, that’s for sure.

And your teamed with Mélanie Laurent’s Alma Dray, who has a different way of operating….

Mark Ruffalo: Yeah, Dylan likes to do things on his own, he’s very much a lone wolf operator, sort of street agent. He’s a bit unorthodox, and then this kind of beautiful, sweet French Interpol Agent shows up and he has to share this case with her. He doesn’t want to give up any kind of control to her (laughs). And yeah, Dylan doesn’t want to know about magic, he doesn’t want to know sleight of hand, he doesn’t want to know if they’re actually doing it. It’s black and white for him. Alma’s in this grey area where she believes magic and she’s interested in how it’s performed.

melanie Laurent and  Mark Ruffalo

I understand you got the script for ‘Now You See Me’ around the time of Occupy Wall Street and that whole movement. It must have felt somewhat timely?

Mark Ruffalo: Yeah. I got the script before Occupy Wall Street and that whole movement – which kind of captured the idea of social justice. But I think the theme is deeply embedded in contemporary culture and we were able to develop that into a modern Robin Hood tale with magicians stealing from the rich and giving back to the common man. It’s a classic kind of heist movie, but it has this kind of Robin Hood, illusionist, “good/bad” guys. It’s got a great pulse, in that it moves quickly, it takes you to a lot of different places.

There’s fight scenes and chases and love scenes and humor and a really great, satisfying twist. And I really liked the massive undertaking of the script, the amount of planning that had to go into them and man hours that had to go into them to pull them off. It starts to become clear that they’re not working on their own as the story goes forward.

You have an interesting dynamic in the film with Morgan Freeman’s Thaddeus Bradley….

Mark Ruffalo: Thaddeus is the ultimate cynic, you know? And it’s another interesting idea in the film, the fact that he tries to kill magic, he kills the joy of magic. But what else is really interesting about that character is that he probably could have been the greatest magician alive. His ability to debunk these magicians just shows how talented he was as a magician, but he chose to go another route – and purely for money. But working with Morgan Freeman was great, I had a lot of fun playing with him.

What was the ratio of special effects to practical effects in the film?

Mark Ruffalo: I think the ratio of special effects to practical effects was about 50/50, it was pretty good – and it was fun to watch. So much of what is in the movie was filmed live. A lot of the sleight of hand, a lot of the magic tricks, which was in camera. The magic tricks are actually designed to happen in front of the audience in the film just as they do for the audiences in the theatre. Anyway, aren’t movies the ultimate magic trick (laughs)?

Morgan Freeman Mark Ruffalo