Michael Grandinetti’s magic is inspired by many things on “Masters of Illusion,” returning Friday at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Syndicated by FYI Television, Inc. July 4th-July 10th, 2015
FYI TELELEVISION, INC.
Michael Grandinetti has been creating illusions since he found a magic set under his Christmas tree when he was 5. That bit of inspiration has led him to a successful career in the magic biz, and now in addition to his performances all over the world, he’s starring on two shows this summer: “Masters of Illusion,” returning Friday at 8 p.m. on The CW, and the new series “Don’t Blink” for POP TV later in the summer.
“We are in season two of ‘Masters of Illusion,’ and I’ve really loved being part of the show,” Grandinetti says. “It all began about three years ago when the producers were reviving the series, which first aired in the 1990s. Their goal was to search the world for the best magicians and to bring them all to one place, in Hollywood, and to have them show their very best things. I was honored to be called as part of that group and really enjoyed performing both some of my favorite illusions and some brand new pieces, which have never been seen before on television, for the show.
“I’m very excited about the magic that we have coming up in season two,” Grandinetti continues. “One of my favorite pieces involves a giant, sixfoot-tall painting of a girl and, during the presentation, I visibly pull the girl from the painting and she becomes real. She dances around the stage and, just as she gets close to me, she instantly disappears and reappears back inside the painting. Another illusion that I’m very proud of is our Test Conditions Levitation, where we invite the audience up on stage to surround us, while I levitate a girl in mid-air. We also give each audience member a super-bright LED flashlight and ask them to shine the light above, below and around the girl to prove that there are no hidden wires or supports keeping her in the air. I can’t wait for people to see it.”
He’s the first to admit that it’s an embarrassment of riches being on two shows at once. “Thankfully, ‘Master of Illusion’ did very well last year in the ratings, so when the producers were putting ‘Don’t Blink’ together, they called and we talked a bit about the show,” Grandinetti says, “and I loved the idea. The premise of ‘Don’t Blink’ is taking magic away from the stage and performing it in real-life locations, around Los Angeles, for unsuspecting people in their everyday lives. Not just close-up magic, but large-scale illusions as well.
“For example, we went to Hollywood Boulevard and I levitated 10 feet into the air above the street, while nearly 1,000 people crowded around. At Universal Studios Hollywood, I walked through a 7-foot-tall steel wall and made an audience member float in the air. At Venice Beach, I did some sleight of hand magic with borrowed iPhones, borrowed lipstick, water bottles, seashells, etc. It was so much fun shooting the show; the audiences were fantastic, and I hope that the viewers at home feel that excitement and enjoyment through the screen.”
To stay relevant, Grandinetti is always working on his next illusion. “The ideas for our illusions really come from many places,” he says. “I’ve talked with people who play music, and they say that the music is always in their mind. That’s really true for me when it comes to magic. Magic has become a way of thinking, so it’s always in my mind, and I’m always searching for new ideas. Sometimes the ideas will come from a basic premise, like trying to make the world’s most dangerous escape or trying to create a romantic illusion, and then the piece develops from that starting point. Other times, like in the case of our Walking through Steel illusion, I heard a piece of music one night, and instantly I just saw the illusion in my mind while the music was playing. I could see one hand coming through the steel wall, and then the other, and then I could see my whole body melting through the steel. So, in that case, the music inspired the illusion, and that is a piece that we perform every night, to that very piece of music, in our show.
“It can take quite a while, sometimes up to a few years, to go the full course from having the initial idea to having the piece finished and performing it onstage. In the case of our steel wall illusion, it took close to seven years before we finally performed it for an audience. When you’re doing stage magic, there are so many elements that all come together, not just the magic, but the music, the staging, the lighting, the scripting, the choreography, and it’s really important to me that they are all just right. If one little piece is off in an illusion, you can really feel it. I strive for all of our pieces to look effortless and to really connect with an audience emotionally, and I love the process of working toward that goal.”