Actor Jack Cutmore-Scott has always been enamoured with magic. Like the rest of the world, he has wondered how illusionists like David Blaine and Derren Brown could pull off what seems impossible.
Now the 30-year-old Londoner doesn’t need to wonder about magic tricks anymore thanks to his involvement in the new TV show titled Deception.
In it, he plays the lead role of Cameron Black – a superstar magician with a knack for showmanship and amazing illusions. But, at the height of his success, it all comes crashing down when Cameron becomes the main suspect in a murder case.
Relying on his charm, his skill in the art of deception, as well as his behind-the-scenes illusion team, Cameron convinces the FBI to allow him to help them in solving crimes that defy explanation, hoping to one day clear his name as well.
To prepare for his role in Deception, Cutmore-Scott worked with magicians David Kwong and Francis Menotti. In the process, he’s learned the most important trick about performing magic.
He tells us the secret in a phone conversation: “A big part of magic is training your hands and your muscles to get used to doing the tricks and behaving in ways they’re not primarily used for. I had Francis and David to help and guide me through the basics.”
Cutmore-Scott had to learn the tricks quickly while he was shooting the pilot. But luckily, he took on to magic quite naturally.
“Between shooting the pilot and the rest of the season, I practised nonstop for about six months, just getting my hands more familiar and being more comfortable with sleight of hand tricks and things that I think Cameron Black would have been very comfortable with. By the time we shot the rest of the season I was a little more prepared to take on the trickier stuff.”
If you have always wondered how some illusions are executed, you’re in for a treat. In the first episode, Cameron reveals how illusionists make a plane disappear. He also draws the curtain on some of the card tricks that magicians are fond of.
So just how many secrets does Deception reveal over the course of its 13 episodes?
“We are very careful about that,” answers Cutmore-Scott. “We don’t want to reveal any secrets that belong to any magicians who are working today.
“The rule of thumb that David and Francis work with is that if it’s been around for a 100 years, then it is fair game to reveal a little of how it’s done; if it’s a trick David and Francis created, then they’re also comfortable with revealing how it’s done.
“But if it is a trick that is still being used today and revealing any secrets would be damaging to (magicians’) careers, then we avoid that at all cost.”
While the revelations are interesting, it is the many kinds of magic – both sleight of hand tricks and large scale illusions – featured on Deception that makes the show interesting.
Cutmore-Scott explains: “Viewers will be indoctrinated to the main tenets of magic … The idea behind the show is that viewers will get an insight into the mindset of being a magician, more than purely giving away a magician’s secrets.”
In Deception, we also learn that Cameron has spent his whole life being a performer. This, however, is not the case with Cutmore-Scott.
The son of two accountants confesses to enjoying acting as a teenager in school. He continued doing it when he attended Harvard University in Massa-chusetts, United States, to study English Literature And Languages.
Then during his senior year there, theatre director Eric C. Engel cast him in the title role of a Publick Theatre Boston production, Entertaining Mr Sloane.
Cutmore-Scott kept on going down this path. After graduation, he moved to New York where he worked in theatre productions like Cyrano De Bergerac, and Shakespeare in the Park’s 2014 production of Much Ado About Nothing.
When he was offered a part on a TV show, he moved to Los Angeles, a place he has called home for almost five years now.
Work kept on coming his way; a lead role in the one-season comedy Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life, as well as smaller roles in two big movies – Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
But ask him how it all started, this is what he says: “I really have no idea. I’ve always kind of been convinced that at some point someone’s going to come along and tell me I have no idea what I’m doing and I should just go home. So until that happens, I’m just going to keep on doing it.”
Or maybe Cutmore-Scott knows only too well that real magic is believing in yourself, which can lead to making anything happen.