LOS ANGELES

MT

This was the first movie I really enjoyed making,’ admits Jesse Eisenberg of Now You See Me. ‘Afterwards I realised it’s because my character really likes himself. My experience parallels whatever the character is feeling. It was therapeutic in a way.’

It’s true that J Daniel Atlas is a far cry from the geeks, misfits and worriers the 29-year-old has played in everything from his 2002 debut Roger Dodger to 2010’s The Social Network. A brash, arrogant magician and womaniser, Atlas is proof that Eisenberg can escape the nerd tag with ease.

‘It’s fun to play this role because he genuinely thinks he’s the best,’ says Eisenberg. ‘It’s not like it’s covering insecurity, it’s not false bravado, it’s because he is quantifiably great, he’s the best at his job.’

An upbeat crime thriller, Now You See Me pits Atlas and his team of illusionists (Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco) against an FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) who’s frustrated by their audacious law-breaking stunts.

The first big show involves them apparently robbing a bank in France while on a Las Vegas stage, showering the audience with cash.

Their stunts go from the sublime to the ridiculous but Eisenberg claims they’re potentially authentic. ‘We consulted with the greatest magicians in the world, talking about what’s coming in the industry, what technology is being developed, and devised tricks that can be done practically,’ he says.