“Now You See Me” is a big step up for 27-year-old hottie Dave Franco, who’s been seen in a bundle of TV and film parts including “Fright Night” and “Charlie St. Cloud” — but has been best known up till now as James Franco’s little brother.
The May 31 release thriller about a band of audacious and preternaturally gifted young magicians, who have unique ideas for redistribution of wealth, should go a long way toward elevating Dave’s stardom. Talking about being in a cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, Franco tells us, with self-effacing charm, “It was almost unbelievable. I would tell my friends I grew up with who was in the movie, and they would say ‘How the ?&!$ did you sneak into that?’ They keep me honest.” He laughs. “I kept thinking, ‘I hope they don’t realize they made a mistake.’ It was a little intimidating because I wanted to prove I belonged. But from day one, everyone welcomed me and treated me as an equal.”
As far as James’ advice? Dave lets us know his brother is a very supportive sibling. “He’s always there for me. But to be honest, we don’t talk about acting very much. If I have a question, he’s always there to answer it, though.”
He adds, “The main thing he’s told me through the years is to try and be as patient as possible and wait until you find something you’re genuinely passionate about. Sometimes it’s tough because you’re sitting around, you’re anxious. You want to get back to work. But sometimes it’s better to do nothing than to jump on a project you’re not really passionate about.”
Not surprisingly, he’s passionate about “Now You See Me,” which required him to spend long hours perfecting sleight of hand techniques on top of prepping for action including a fight sequence with Ruffalo.
“My favorite thing was probably the same as the hardest thing, which was the fight sequence.
We rehearsed that for weeks on end. I loved it,” he says. “While we were filming it, I remember thinking, ‘Why would I want to film some dramatic movie crying all day when I could be fighting Mark Ruffalo and flipping over tables?’ Of course, I want to do more serious work as well, but for the moment — I mean, it really got real. Mark and I both insisted on doing as much of our own stunt work as they would let us, and we got bruised up. I have scars on my body that will be there forever that I got doing that fight sequence.”
Now those are some fundamental guy bragging rights! Dave adds, “You know, while you’re doing it the adrenaline is going and you don’t even feel the pain.”
Learning magic tricks was more intricate. Coincidentally enough, Dave lived in a residence just up the block from Los Angeles’ world famous Magic Castle club before and while making “Now You See Me.” He says he and friends would go get drunk and watch magic well before he landed this role. After he landed it, he enjoyed visiting with the magicians and seeing them at work even more.
“I think this movie goes up against silly stereotypes of what magicians should be — with over-the-top costumes and all that — and makes magic cool again,” he comments. “We’re in a new wave of magic, with real people you can relate to, people who are funny, people you like.”
Dave will be hurrying back to the set of another film once his “Now You See Me” promo chores are done.
“I’m currently working on a big comedy called ‘Townies’ by Nick Stoller, who did ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ and ‘Get Him to the Greek.’ Seth Rogen is involved and Zac Efron. It’s an incredible cast, an incredible character. I can’t say too much about it, but it’s going to be wild. There’s a lot of male nudity. I don’t know how you feel about that.”
Well, we’ll see how we feel. Is he part of the nudity?
“I’m going to leave that as a surprise,” says Dave.
Hmm. It appears safe to say that, one way or another, we will be seeing much more of Dave Franco in the future.