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Topic: Woody Harrelson
Message: Posted by: CardStudent (May 23, 2013 01:17PM)
Hello all!

I recently posted some comments on Jesse Eisenberg's Late Show magic "performance." Here's a link to that thread:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=511360&forum=2&43

Last night Woody Harrelson performed some mentalism. It was "just" David Hoy's Impromptu Book Test, but he performed it as well as I've ever seen it performed. He had one psychological touch in particular that only those familiar with the effect will appreciate. On the whole, a vastly superior performance to Eisenberg's, and proof that close-up magic can play well on TV if you do it right. There is much to be learned about presentation from this performance for both magicians and mentalists. Here's a link to it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6eICRkRtGQ

On a related note, here is a link to an interesting thread about performing magic on Letterman specifically that evolved into one about performing on TV in general.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=509583&forum=2&54

Some in this thread had difficulty believing this type of magic could ever play well on TV. I think Harrelson's performance is proof positive to the contrary.
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (May 23, 2013 01:37PM)
I didn't know Woody Harrelson was into mentalism. That's kind of cool.
Message: Posted by: Randwill (May 23, 2013 01:41PM)
I posted about this in the 'Magic and the media' section earlier.

I believe a big factor in why it played well had to do with Dave's cooperation. Letterman can be, and has been, difficult and challenging when confronted with someone "who wants to fool him". Since he was already predisposed to like Woody Harrelson, this worked to his (Woody's) advantage. I'm not taking away from his fine and subtle presentation, but another performer (a self-defined 'mentalist') with an equally smooth presentation might not have fared as well on the show.
Message: Posted by: CardStudent (May 23, 2013 01:42PM)
I think he just learned some for his role in "Now You See Me," but my point is that he obviously learned at least this one piece very well. Further, it is apparent that he has an instinctive knack for presentation.
Message: Posted by: Randwill (May 23, 2013 01:43PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 14:37, Chaz93 wrote:
I didn't know Woody Harrelson was into mentalism. That's kind of cool.
[/quote]

He was there promoting his new film, "Now You See Me", in which he plays a mentalist. He said he learned about the art in preparation for the role.
Message: Posted by: Alwow (May 23, 2013 01:47PM)
Woody's performance was well let's just say significantly better than Jesse's crash and burn...
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (May 23, 2013 02:10PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 14:43, Randwill wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 14:37, Chaz93 wrote:
I didn't know Woody Harrelson was into mentalism. That's kind of cool.
[/quote]

He was there promoting his new film, "Now You See Me", in which he plays a mentalist. He said he learned about the art in preparation for the role.
[/quote]

Ahhh. This makes sense.
Message: Posted by: Avocat (May 23, 2013 02:32PM)
He really played up the mistaken page number aspect. One bit I thought he'd do, which I started doing for exactly that reason (i.e., the awkwardness after the first page number selection), is flash the second page number for verification.

In other words, mimic the motions of the first selection, where you actually do show the selected page number. But the second time, you have to rush because of the "mistake."
Message: Posted by: Moderncelt (May 23, 2013 03:04PM)
Props to Mr Harrilson.
Message: Posted by: DynaMix (May 23, 2013 03:05PM)
Very natural, relaxed, and felt "fun" - definitely something to be learned. Sometimes we can make the mentalism seem so serious, no?
Message: Posted by: smullins (May 23, 2013 03:42PM)
I have to say... Woody Harrelson performed like a PRO on the set. Calm, collected, added a nice subtlety and HAD FUN. I think that's the most important part of it, he had fun with it and really just let Letterman BE Letterman.

Awesome job
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (May 23, 2013 03:47PM)
Well, he is a PRO....actor that is.
To me, this is a big part of the story here, - committing to the role.
It's all about presentation, presentation, presentation!

e
Message: Posted by: landmark (May 23, 2013 04:12PM)
Sweet.
Here's my review of the movie where I single out Harrelson's performance:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=511107&forum=62&5
Message: Posted by: A.G. (May 23, 2013 06:14PM)
Not sure if it has been mentioned here, but my buddy Keith Barry was the mentalism/ hypnosis consultant for Woody in the film, and for the Letterman Show.

As Keith's consultant for the past 5 years, It was nice to see him in my shoes ! Woody did amazing of course, and he and Keith have become good pals too.

I can't wait to go for beers, and watch Woody do mentalism.


best thoughts,
Andrew Gerard
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (May 23, 2013 06:49PM)
2 things to note:

David Letterman said he forgot the word, but was just teasing. When he did that to a card trick of a Magician, internet Magicians immediately flamed him. The Letterman bashing concerning magic is so off base and stupid.

Woody is a A+ actor. That's the real secret in performing magic well.
Message: Posted by: dmkraig (May 23, 2013 06:55PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 16:47, eSamuels wrote:
Well, he is a PRO....actor that is.
To me, this is a big part of the story here, - committing to the role.
It's all about presentation, presentation, presentation!
[/quote]

Exactly!
With so many mentalists looking for a new effect (one that will fool magicians, of course), the leave out what, IMO, they should be learning: presentation, stage presence, acting, performance, public speaking, etc.

I think (I sure someone will correct me) it was Robert-Houdin who wrote that a magician is an actor pretending to be a real magician. Again, IMO, a mentalist (as opposed to a mental magician) should be acting the role of what they think a mentalist would be: say, move, act, think, breathe, exactly like their imagined real mentalist.
Message: Posted by: kambiz (May 23, 2013 07:03PM)
Cardstudent, I'm interested to know what was the psychological subtlety that impressed you?

PM me if its in any way exposure and this doesn't go into Inner Thoughts

Kam
Message: Posted by: mrkmarik (May 23, 2013 08:07PM)
Would you be kind guys to point out exactly what you find amazing in Woodys performance?
There was no cause only effect, no drama nothing , he was nonhuman, he clicked his fingers and Voilà was able to read Lettermans mind. But why books??? Because it was a trick and what almost follow the trick is a dreaded question feared by many performers "how did you do that"
Woody is indeed high class actor and may done this much , much better!
Message: Posted by: Flopgunder (May 24, 2013 06:01AM)
Woody is just so cool and relaxed and this short to the point effect seemed to suit Letterman and his low tolerance towards magic (which is only beaten by my sister). And my guess is that dramatic, Uri Geller-like "real" mentalism is still just magic tricks in his view and would get the lifted eyebrow "yeah right"-treatment. But I agree that the presentation probably isn't elaborate enough for a professional Woody mystic tour stage act.

In my personal opinion as a complete non-mentalist amateur, I like when I get an honest and upset "how did you do that?" afterwards btw..
Message: Posted by: Jon_Thompson (May 24, 2013 06:12AM)
The other thing to notice is that he just got on with it. No padding, no flim-flam, just the effect. Lovely.
Message: Posted by: parmenion (May 24, 2013 06:23AM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 20:03, kambiz wrote:
Cardstudent, I'm interested to know what was the psychological subtlety that impressed you?

PM me if its in any way exposure and this doesn't go into Inner Thoughts

Kam
[/quote]
Kam I think, he talk about when Woody say the page number and Letterman can't find it as his book has less pages.
Never seen this incredible psychological subtlety before! I'm specheless! Thanks for the tips ;-)
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 24, 2013 06:28AM)
That subtlety is aaaages old...

woody is an under-rated actor (i think he is fantastic), and I think he could be a pretty mean and way out there bizarrist mor than anything else...he could deliver the story so well as a series of monologues...
Message: Posted by: landmark (May 24, 2013 08:33AM)
I used to use a similar ploy in reverse. Doing a 1089 force--I'd have several books in a pile with [i]less than[/i] 1089 pages, and only one (usually a dictionary) with more. So after getting the number, the first book the spec takes from the pile has fewer than the required number so he says he can't use the book. I would helpfully point out the dictionary and say, "okay, let's use this one." So rather than switching numbers, I was switching books.

I like Woody's take with Hoy. It's a great touch.
Message: Posted by: Andre Hagen (May 24, 2013 09:30AM)
Not surprising that a good actor who is not a magician or mentalist can perform a routine so well. After all, good acting is the primary requisite today as well as in Robert Houdin's day when he made his well known "a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician" statement.

My biggest regret in my old age is that I didn't spend equal time studying acting as well as magic and mentalism. Something for you young aspiring magician/mentalists to consider!
Message: Posted by: John C (May 24, 2013 11:10AM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-24 07:23, parmenion wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 20:03, kambiz wrote:
Cardstudent, I'm interested to know what was the psychological subtlety that impressed you?

PM me if its in any way exposure and this doesn't go into Inner Thoughts

Kam
[/quote]
Kam I think, he talk about when Woody say the page number and Letterman can't find it as his book has less pages.
Never seen this incredible psychological subtlety before! I'm specheless! Thanks for the tips ;-)
[/quote]

WAIT A MINUTE! What day is it? What time is it? parmenion is speechless!! ;)

Kidding of course.

Yes Woody is an actor! SURPRISE!! Let's not forget Jason Alexander's stint as a mentalist. He does an entire show.

J
Message: Posted by: music (May 24, 2013 11:14AM)
Has anyone ever seen Woody and Glenn Close at the same time?
Message: Posted by: Gourmet (May 24, 2013 02:00PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-24 07:23, parmenion wrote:

Kam I think, he talk about when Woody say the page number and Letterman can't find it as his book has less pages.
Never seen this incredible psychological subtlety before! I'm specheless! Thanks for the tips ;-)
[/quote]

exactly, very nice subtlety !
Message: Posted by: SIX (May 26, 2013 09:47AM)
He is friends with Blaine, so assume he got him into it?
Message: Posted by: Curtis Alexander (Jun 1, 2013 08:05PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 14:41, Randwill wrote:
I believe a big factor in why it played well had to do with Dave's cooperation. Letterman can be, and has been, difficult and challenging when confronted with someone "who wants to fool him". Since he was already predisposed to like Woody Harrelson, this worked to his (Woody's) advantage. I'm not taking away from his fine and subtle presentation, but another performer (a self-defined 'mentalist') with an equally smooth presentation might not have fared as well on the show.
[/quote]

That might have helped him some, but I don't think Letterman was going easy on him. He yelled out "stop" as soon as Woody started flipping through the pages both times, presumably to make it so Woody can't force a page in him near the middle of the book. I think the effect and the initial 'miss' all helped Woody in this situation. Letterman has been rough on many magicians he's had on the show, but in most cases the magicians weren't helping themselves and were performing somewhat weak effects considering the fact they were performing on national television for a mainstream audience.
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Jun 1, 2013 08:40PM)
Just got the word that Woody rehearsed this for Hours and rightly so ... He hit every mark making the misses look genuine and the reveal believably magical!!!
Message: Posted by: griffindance (Jun 2, 2013 07:42AM)
Comes back to that maxim of illusion, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician."
An important part of presentation that many of our colleagues dismiss.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jun 2, 2013 07:43AM)
I have to say that I'm with mrkmarik on this.

I like Woody Harrelson, have enjoyed many of the films he's had an impact on and admire his talents as an actor but this was as uninteresting a performance of a mentalism, mental magic or even a book test as I've seen. (and I've seen a great many)

As a piece of mentalism or even mental magic I fail to see the merits this performance has that would lead anyone to consider it as anything other than, at best, ok-ish. Of course it has the bonus of being performed by a Hollywood star but that aside it seems to me that there is little if indeed anything to get excited about.

If we'd never had heard of Woody Harrelson before I can't see how this could be considered to be anything other than a barely passable bit of instantly forgettable nothing.

Of course as a time filling bit of fluff with which to fill a few minutes of a late night chat show it's no better or worse than the hours of air time that get filled every year with equally as vapid and vacuous guest contributions. By that measure it was fine. But then by that measure so would be listening a hollywood celeb talking about, say, their boyfriends dislike for seafood... or whatever. In other words as chat show fodder it filled the air time and was fine... but as a piece of mental magic, mentalism or the performance of a book test it was most of those things I would hope not to see in such a piece.

Specifically; handling wise it was lesson in what not to do. Neither time he flicked through the pages did it look relaxed and unimportant and the vital moment which should have been nonchalant and casual looked rushed and guilt ridden.

The framing and context of the entire piece was neither believable nor developed from anywhere to be anything.

I can only think and hope for the sake of mentalism and indeed mental magic that those posting in this thread saying how marvellous a performance it was are doing so from a position of being dazzled by the celebrity factor. In which case I at least understand.

If not it bodes ill and speaks volumes about our communities acceptance of a bar set horribly low in this field of endeavour and entertainment.

If you disagree, it would be interesting to hear why, as you must be able to see performance worthy aspects that escape my gaze.
Message: Posted by: Steven Keyl (Jun 2, 2013 08:46AM)
Let's focus on the two substantive critiques:

[quote]
Specifically; handling wise it was lesson in what not to do. Neither time he flicked through the pages did it look relaxed and unimportant and the vital moment which should have been nonchalant and casual looked rushed and guilt ridden.
[/quote]

I completely disagree. To me, he looked quite comfortable and far from guilt-ridden.

[quote]
The framing and context of the entire piece was neither believable nor developed from anywhere to be anything.
[/quote]

This is the crux of the matter. Being from the UK you may not be fully aware of the constraints placed onto a performer on Letterman's show--they are pretty stringent. As a guest on his show, one simply does not have the time to fully frame the effect as you would in a mentalism stage show.

Those of us that appreciated his performance have a tacit understanding of the conditions under which he was performing. Given the host, the general audience and the time constraints it's impossible for me to arrive at the conclusion that this was a horrid performance. In fact, when judging his performance under such conditions it's even more apparent how fine a job he actually did.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 2, 2013 11:28AM)
Well he's no Canasta but for a beginner I thought he looked pretty relaxed. It would be a mistake to think that because he is an actor that would be a given. On a chat show as himself he's out of his comfort zone.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jun 2, 2013 06:12PM)
Thanks to Steven Keyl for the response to the question I asked;

Let me address the second of what Steven identifies as my 'critique points'... But before I do I want to make it clear that my criticism wasn't/isn't of Woody Harrelson's performance per se... I didn't think it was good but that's not what bothered me... my concern and criticism was pitched more for those that held, or hold, this performance up to be marvellous, great or even good.

In fact I went out of my way to ensure that I didn't say was it was a horrid performance as a chat show spot, in fact what I specifically said that by the measure it was fine.

But what makes for a good chat show spot is one thing; what makes for a good performance of mentalism, mental magic or even demo of a trick is another.

Even though I am many thousands of miles away here in the UK :) I am aware of the constraints of working on TV in general and specifically as a guest on a chat show and even more pointedly (but here only through having seen many Letterman shows) as a guest on The David Letterman Show.

Steven Keyl's post says that he believes that those posting their admiration towards Woody Harrelson's performance do so with the tacit understanding of the potentially harsh conditions and environment of The David Letterman Show and that taking this into account it was a fine performance. There was also this tacit understanding of these conditions in my post and yet I think as a piece of mentalism, or mental magic or as a trick demo it was poor.

Now of course I realise that you can't frame something in an appearance on 'Letterman' in any way like you would be able to do in a full mentalism show... I wasn't thinking that and I don't even think it would be appropriate for Woody Harrelson to have tried to do so given that Woody Harrelson doesn't (as far as I'm aware) do a mentalism stage show.

But to make a performance something more than a merely pedestrian, nondistinctive, instantly forgettable piece of chat show fodder there still needs to be some kind of framing and context... and of course it has to be one that fits with who the performer is, or is perceived to be, (in this case a Hollywood star not known for their mindreading abilities), the environment, (in this case a TV chat show with all it's limitations) and in this case, one that takes into account the host.(as sure footed a comic in his own turf who doesn't easily give up the reigns or any control unless he wants to)

I'm not suggesting that creating an appropriate context, set up, or framework on which to hang the performance in this environment is at all easy... all I am suggesting is that he didn't do this and consequently the result was a poor performance of mentalism, mental magic or a trick demo that seems to be being lauded as marvellous. How could it be anything else but if it's just performed as a chat show time filler? That it filled this particular chat show slot is fine but I'm not judging it as a piece of late night chat show TV filler, I'm looking at it on how it's been commented on within this thread.... that is as a performance of mentalism, mental magic or a trick. Overall it served the chat show function fine (as does, night after night, a mixture of all sorts of stuff from the astounding and fascinating to bland and banal)... but as far as the performance content of the spot went, it was, in my opinion, poor.

Regarding the specifics; I mentioned the handling of the books simply so I didn't throw out a vague statement such as the handling was poor. I gave one specific concrete example but didn't further explain why I felt this handling was, in this case, rushed, guilt ridden, and not nonchalant and treated as unimportant.. I have a list of things that I think contributed towards his poor performance from the handling point of view... things that I think are not good practice and I'm happy to list them if you're interested but don't want to bore anyone that isn't.

Steven Keyl obviously disagrees with my assessment of the physical aspects of the performance that I mentioned and of course that's fine. It's perfectly possible for two people to look at something and see two things differently. All I would add though is that I'm happy to list specifically what it was that he did that made his performance, in my opinion, poorly handled.

So while I thank Steve for his response I remain unconvinced that the responses to this performance in this thread stem from anything other than a combination of; it's on the television so it must be good, Letterman seemed to like it so it must be good, the guy's a great Hollywood actor so it must be good.... and possibly and most worryingly... that the bar is actually this low for a good, great or even marvellous performance.

I prefer to see a cohesive, well routined and handled piece that sets out a performance goal (any goal) and achieves it. Outside of filling the chat show slot I still don't see it did that.
Message: Posted by: CardStudent (Jun 2, 2013 08:57PM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-02 19:12, Sealegs wrote:

So while I thank Steve for his response I remain unconvinced that the responses to this performance in this thread stem from anything other than a combination of; it's on the television so it must be good, Letterman seemed to like it so it must be good, the guy's a great Hollywood actor so it must be good.... and possibly and most worryingly... that the bar is actually this low for a good, great or even marvellous performance.

I prefer to see a cohesive, well routined and handled piece that sets out a performance goal (any goal) and achieves it. Outside of filling the chat show slot I still don't see it did that.
[/quote]


Eisenberg's performance was on television, and it was no good. Letterman seemed to like it, and it was no good. Eisenberg was a great Hollywood actor, and his trick was no good.

If you are as wonderful as you imply you are, I would love to see some videos of your performances. They must be incredible.
Message: Posted by: Jerome Finley (Jun 2, 2013 09:21PM)
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. :)

Just saying,
JF.
Message: Posted by: PerryCarp (Jun 2, 2013 10:41PM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-02 22:21, Jerome Finley wrote:
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. :)

Just saying,
JF.
[/quote]


Nicely played, Mr. Finley. Nicely played.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jun 3, 2013 03:49AM)
Cardstudent; I didn't imply anything about myself, be it wonderful or otherwise in either of my posts. I certainly haven't suggested I could or would do better. I was just saying that I thought this was a poor performance and am somewhat amazed at it being lauded as great.

I could be a layman or a non-performing armchair enthusiast and have that view... and it would still be valid.

I didn't see Eisenberg's performance but he's a newcomer compared to Harrelson so perhaps the Emperor's new clothes doesn't work in his favour. I sure hope this is the case because the Emperor's new clothes effect would explain why Harrelson's performance as being held up to be a great bit of mentalism. or mental magic. The alternative is that it is actually being held up to be a great bit of mentalism or mental magic in it's own right and that, I think, is rather sad for this branch of our art and craft.

Jerome; Yes that's the one.... that's the Woody Harrelson... the naturally gifted actor, [some say comedian too], author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's [gives] open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade.... And yet despite that I don't simply, blindly, find myself 100% for anything he might do. But then I don't just go along with anyone 100% irrespective of what they do.

I think he's a great actor but that doesn't mean I defer any opinion about any individual acting part he might portray or anything he might do in the future. I can appreciate who is and what he does without the need to heap unwarranted praise on him for something that I don't think is worthy of it.

But as I said, my post wasn't a critique of Woody Harrelson's performance per se. As far as I'm concerned I don't care or think it matters in the slightest whether he did a great or lamentable bit of mental magic on a late night TV chat show spot.

My concern is that such a performance (which I believe was poor for reasons I've mentioned and many others that I haven't, but can) is held up as a standard to aspire to.

I think this is a low set bar and that, in my opinion, doesn't bode well for strengthening future performances of mentalism or mental magic by others in, or venturing into, this arena.
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Jun 3, 2013 09:44AM)
It was very fun to watch. He is a great Performer, and did the effect very well. Kudos to him.
Message: Posted by: A.G. (Jun 3, 2013 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-01 21:40, Slim King wrote:
Just got the word that Woody rehearsed this for Hours and rightly so ... He hit every mark making the misses look genuine and the reveal believably magical!!!
[/quote]
Actually This effect was a last minute one, Woody learned it backstage just 10 min before showtime. Trust me.

I think if any one here did this effect many would say "Oh that old thing?" correct me if I am wrong.

Goes to show, if you like the person you will love what they do.


Still have to see the movie.

best
AG
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 3, 2013 11:14AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-03 12:04, A.G. wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-06-01 21:40, Slim King wrote:
Just got the word that Woody rehearsed this for Hours and rightly so ... He hit every mark making the misses look genuine and the reveal believably magical!!!
[/quote]
Actually This effect was a last minute one, Woody learned it backstage just 10 min before showtime. Trust me.

I think if any one here did this effect many would say "Oh that old thing?" correct me if I am wrong.

Goes to show, if you like the person you will love what they do.


Still have to see the movie.

best
AG
[/quote]

I think we can all at least agree that this proves what an absolute work of sublime genius the Hoy test is.
Message: Posted by: harbour (Jun 5, 2013 01:31AM)
Practice, practice, practice.
Message: Posted by: RileyG (Jun 5, 2013 02:58AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-02 22:21, Jerome Finley wrote:
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. :)

Just saying,
JF.
[/quote]

Well said my Brother...
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 5, 2013 03:02AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-05 02:31, harbour wrote:
Practice, practice, practice.
[/quote]

And then rehearse. ;)
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Jun 5, 2013 04:09AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-02 22:21, Jerome Finley wrote:
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. :)

Just saying,
JF.
[/quote]


You say right.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 5, 2013 04:56AM)
Some people seem to expect Woody to be at the same level as a Berglas or a Cassidy. It was inevitable, given the nature of his new movie, that he would be asked to perform some mentalism on the show. I'm just happy he seemed to take it seriously and, in my opinion, pulled it off.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 5, 2013 05:17AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-02 22:21, Jerome Finley wrote:
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. :)

Just saying,
JF.
[/quote]

Natural Born Mentalist. ;)
Message: Posted by: deputy (Jun 5, 2013 05:46AM)
I think he did a very very good job. That is such a stressful enviorment, he pulled it off very well
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Jun 5, 2013 10:02AM)
Now after watching the clip numerous times and re-reading through Hoys Bold Impromtu Test.... Is this the same version or an improved one. Im seeing it a bit different then it is read. PM if you must.
Message: Posted by: Sicnatius (Jun 5, 2013 10:23AM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-02 22:21, Jerome Finley wrote:
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. :)

Just saying,
JF.
[/quote]

I 100% agree with this one. There have been so called mentalists on German TV that don't give such a good performance.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 5, 2013 11:28AM)
I 100% agree with this one. There have been so called mentalists on German TV that don't give such a good performance.
[/quote]

Indeed, or Marc Salem on the Howard Stern show. Now that REALLY went badly wrong. Slightly tougher crowd though!
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jun 5, 2013 01:00PM)
It's good to read several or so posts that quote and agree with Jerome Finley's comment, " I'm 100% for him and anything he does", as it mitigates the actual merits of Woody Harrelson's performance and makes the enthusiastic content of this thread make way more sense to me. :)

Maybe this is a good time to point out that the celebrity stars, on Dancing With The Stars.... even the one's that do well on the program.... wouldn't cut it in the world of professional ballroom dancing and professional (and would be professional) ballroom dancers don't look to their example as the type of performance to aspire to.

Just saying,

:)
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 5, 2013 02:00PM)
Very true Neal. I don't think Messrs Osterlind and Cassidy etc need give up their day job just yet!
Message: Posted by: magicman29 (Jun 5, 2013 02:06PM)
Sealegs I can't understand why you are moaning about people on this thread saying it was a good performance, let people have their opinion....everyone is entitled to it...

Kieran
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Jun 5, 2013 03:31PM)
Think about the first time you ever did a magic trick, or performed a mentalism effect in front of another person. Were you nervous? Focused on the mechanics rather than the performance? Were you as smooth as you are now? As smooth as you were by the time you showed it to the 40th person? Imaging going back in time to when you were a complete novice, who had JUST learned his first effect, then had to go on Letterman to perform it TO Letterman. Would you have fared as well? Been as relaxed?

Eisenberg wilted before he even began. Understandably nervous and not in control. Couldn't pull it off.
Woody showed no nervousness WHATSOEVER. In front of LETTERMAN, who's intimidating to the biggest stars, even when they're NOT performing, because of how sharp and quick he is. If you truly believe this was a sub-par mentalism performance for an ACTOR to pull off on a live TV show hosted by David Letterman, then it's just sour grapes. How familiar do you think Woody was with the techniques necessary to pull this off smoothly?

Earlier in this thread, Andrew Gerard said he learned the effect 10 minutes before going on!


I stand by Jerome's line: "...(Woody) gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum..."
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 5, 2013 04:08PM)
[quote]If you truly believe this was a sub-par mentalism performance for an ACTOR to pull off on a live TV show hosted by David Letterman, then it's just sour grapes.
[/quote]

Or maybe he just truly believed it was a sub-par mentalism performance? No sour grapes involved.
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Jun 5, 2013 04:43PM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-05 17:08, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]If you truly believe this was a sub-par mentalism performance for an ACTOR to pull off on a live TV show hosted by David Letterman, then it's just sour grapes.
[/quote]

Or maybe he just truly believed it was a sub-par mentalism performance? No sour grapes involved.
[/quote]


Letterman is a tough audience- he's brilliant, challenging and is always in charge. I've seen superstars intimidated, wilting, sitting in that chair. Once in a while, you have a magician/mentalist who legitimately impresses him and TAKES CHARGE of the segment (David Roth, Steve Cohen). Eisenberg failed to do that. Harrelson didn't. Sorry; sour grapes. Re-read Jerome's post. Couldn't be more right.

As further indication of Harrelson's success, take a look at Paisa23's earlier post. Paisa's a veteran. Knowledgable. He asked if this was an "improved" version of Hoy. That tells you all you need to know. Great job by Woody.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 5, 2013 05:08PM)
I think Woody did a very good job indeed in the circumstances. I just don't think that someone disagreeing is necessarily sour grapes. Maybe they genuinely believe it wasn't any good. I think we should be careful of impugning people's motives.
Message: Posted by: Gaaargh (Jun 5, 2013 06:27PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-23 14:41, Randwill wrote:
Since he was already predisposed to like Woody Harrelson, this worked to his (Woody's) advantage.
[/quote]

Do you mean because they are both Sigma Chi's? Or just share a longer history than Dave & Eisenberg?
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jun 5, 2013 08:31PM)
Keiran said [quote]I can't understand why you are moaning about people on this thread saying it was a good performance, let people have their opinion....everyone is entitled to it... [/quote]

I don't believe I've moaned about anyone's opinion.

I've commented on them and I'm interested in them. Most of them differ considerably from mine and while I know how and why I have the opinion I have I'm trying to understand how and why other Café members posting here have the opinions they have especially as the same source material seems to be giving rise to what appears to be almost diametrically opposing views.

I find that interesting and fascinating.

And as you said, everyone :) is entitled to have their opinion.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Jun 6, 2013 01:00AM)
[quote]

And as you said, everyone :) is entitled to have their opinion.
[/quote]

In the world of the Café, some people are more equally entitled to their opinion than others.
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Jun 6, 2013 03:12PM)
And it begins, I love all my Café guys but it seems like every thread after a while goes ooooffff topic, so to try to get this back Woody did a great performance of it. Who has ogne back to this since then and what variations do you like better. I re read the Hoy manuscript and thought I saw that Woody didn't complete the first part(BOLD PART) at least not on camera so that is where he lost me.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Jun 6, 2013 07:55PM)
[quote]
On 2013-06-01 21:40, Slim King wrote:
Just got the word that Woody rehearsed this for Hours and rightly so ..
[/quote]

Who did you get the word from, since Keith Barry's (Woody Harrelson's mentor)
Andrew Gerard, said this was a last minute idea, or did David Letterman tell you?
Unreal!!!
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jun 7, 2013 03:52AM)
A short but interesting exchange of PM's with gabelson about how and why he and I came to our vastly differing opinions about Woody Harrelson's showing has made me reassess Steven Keyl's comment about the environment of the Letterman show being the crux of the matter regarding any critical appraisal.

I was choosing to acknowledge the difficulties of the performing environment and then look at the performers efforts, that came from such an environment, in isolation from it... assessing it in against an arbitrarily chosen absolute background.

Such a basis allows for comparative assessments to be made between different environments and for most environments this is generally helpful... but for certain extreme conditions, and performing on The Letterman Show would qualify, it might not be so helpful.

So with that it mind, I'm sure Woody Harrelson will be hugely relieved to hear that, rather than being poor and ok-ish at best, I now concede and believe that as an actor and under the circumstances, as a 'mentalist' he actually did rather well.

Knowing this I suspect Woody will at last be able to get a good nights sleep.

Thanks to gabelson for taking the time to exchange thoughts and ideas. (And I'm enjoying the grapes :) )
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jun 7, 2013 08:38PM)
Im glad Woody and his movie are bringing some light to the art......
Message: Posted by: mrkmarik (Jun 7, 2013 09:03PM)
Really do we need light to the art? ;) but yes indeed! Woody is awesome actor! and I'm glad2 he represents ;)
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jun 7, 2013 09:56PM)
I guess what I meant to say was it helps my business. :)
Message: Posted by: nimrod (Jun 9, 2013 06:52AM)
I read the original script and had a conversation with the writer.
In the original script the mentalist is much more like us and less superhuman.
Its a shame they changed it.

Nimrod , Israel
Message: Posted by: Gaaargh (Jun 9, 2013 10:39AM)
In what ways?

Is there a larger focus on his work?
Message: Posted by: lamo1994 (Nov 13, 2013 09:48PM)
Hi guys, was wondering if anybody could give me some more information for when he goes through the vowels of the alphabet in the clip? he does a similar thing in the film in order to guess someones name. just wondering if it was actually possible to do that alone, without the book test (like in the film)
Message: Posted by: Matt Pulsar (Nov 14, 2013 04:01AM)
I'm a bit biased but I will watch anything this fantastic performer and man produces. And I believe in the case of NYSM he was the best thing in the film. His hypno bit at the very beginning was fantastic.

I have a fun personal tidbit about Woody Harrelson. It's a bit long and, truly nothing earth shattering happens in this story, but its one of my favorite.

In around 2002 I was working as a bartender in NYC in a lounge bar with a boudoir ambiance and lots of couches. The bar was a bit slow on a Sunday night. Pretty much everyone there was a friend of mine or a bar regular. Woody Harrelson and Edward Norton came in with a man who was in a bright orange suit. Coat Trousers and Hat. I was beside myself star struck for a few moments, but I tried not to react, I finished pouring the drink I was in the middle of and they ponied up to the bar. Woody had one of those giant plastic jugs you can buy for orange or cranberry juice filled with water, and he was drinking it off an on slung over his elbow. Norton looked a bit like he was out of his element and not sure what to do with himself. I walked over to them and said, "I guess its my lucky day to have both Woody and Edward come into my bar," (I was only twenty two or three at the time,) Norton smiled and woody gave me a half awkward, but forgiving look, smiled and said "and this is John" referring to the orange man. I said "Sorry, Hi John, I'm Stuart, and we all shook hands. Woody began befriending people around him because pretty much the whole bar had frozen mid drink and were starring at that moment. If it had been one A list movie star, new York Keeps it cool, but Two, and add in some odd guy in Orange and its a bit shocking. The crowd was generally respectful although one lady did ask if she could take a picture with him.

Woody came back over to me and said, "Listen, we are looking for a place to smoke a little herb, do you think that would be alright?" And I had to take a second to consider this. It was a slow night and I knew everyone there, but really, I couldn't exactly just allow them to light up in the middle of the bar. I noticed just as he asked that he was leaning half way on the bar, sort of blocking the orange man. Another glance and I realized that the orange man was rolling a joint on the bar between Woody and Edward. They were very good at hiding the sightlines from the other customers and I wanted to be cool, so I let it slide. The bar I worked at had been a bistro recently and was in the middle of converting the kitchen into a billiards room as there just wasn't enough food business to employ a full time chef. The nice part about this was that the kitchen had two swinging doors that separated it from the rest of the bar, and a large ventilation system that was still in working order. So I said, "Well, I'm sorry I can't just let you smoke here at the bar, but you are welcome to use the former kitchen space. We will just call it the VIP room if anyone asks, and there is a large fan vent system so nobody will be the wiser." They smiled in thanks and I showed them to the "VIP room," and turned on the vent. I went back to making drinks and a few moments later I saw the big face of Woody Harrelson and his hand waving towards me in the little square window on the kitchen door. I raised my eyebrows, and he made a gesture that meant, "You are welcome to join us." So, I turned the bar over to my bar back and stood in the kitchen for a bit with two movie stars who I greatly respected and the man in the orange suit. Woody was engaging, funny and possibly the most charismatic person I had met. Ed Norton was oddly geeky, and would though in misplaced quips and jokes that didn't really work, but it just made him that much more endearing. I don't remember the man in orange saying anything.

After the odd smoking circle with discussions of what the room looked like when it had been a kitchen and what we were planning to do to it, they came back in the bar and ordered drinks. Woody said he wanted something light, something not to strong, but then ordered a cognac. While Edward ordered an Irish cream on the rocks "For the Irish in me" he said, with silly Irish accent, to which Woody threw him a sideways look. There was an awkward moment where I wasn't sure if I should charge them, but in the end I just charged them for one drink. "Wow, Cognac got expensive!" Woody said, (I think it was $9.) "Hey Ed, got any cash” While Norton stumbled to find his cash, Woody said, "Oh Wait..." and pulled out a hundred dollar bill. He paid for the drink and left a very nice tip and hung out for a bit. It was truly great to work in a bar in NYC, I was able to have many experiences meeting all sorts of amazing people, and also developed my skills through this environment. I didn’t perform anything for these guys, as at the time it didn’t seem appropriate, and I don’t know if I would have been able to pull anything off under that pressure those days.

Around a year later I was fortunate enough to go see R.E.M. at the garden and attend the after party. Woody Harrelson happened to be there as well. To the mans credit, he remembered me and we had a very pleasant conversation about music. He is very real and genuine.

Watching the clip I love the line “It's a little pre heckle, there.”

Now here is my question to the forum. Do you think it would have been a good idea for him to have confirmed with Letterman that they didn’t set anything up before hand?
Message: Posted by: drmagic (Nov 14, 2013 06:40AM)
This is "John" the Man in Orange - http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=640
Message: Posted by: robbie mcgrath (Nov 14, 2013 11:51AM)
I think keith barry done a brill job with woody on the "film now you see me" and woodys performance both on the film and show was very well done , if this was done by anyone else as in non actor it still would have been an great effect and lay would still enjoy the performance


just my two cents worth
Message: Posted by: Matt Pulsar (Nov 14, 2013 06:59PM)
[quote]
On 2013-11-14 07:40, drmagic wrote:
This is "John" the Man in Orange - http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=640
[/quote]

My Man in Orange was a white guy. Pretty much the same cour though, perhaps their is a gang of the orange clad.
Message: Posted by: backinblack (Nov 15, 2013 07:14AM)
I am not sure if the acting from wh makes the believe that mentalism could be real get stronger in public.. anyhow: nice perfomance from him..