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David Bowie's Tesla to get a Kingly assistant in THE PRESTIGE?!?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a bit of a scoop on Christopher Nolan's upcoming THE PRESTIGE. AICN has a new spy who has dazzled us with his amazing Billiard Ball Manipulation Act. After proving himself as legit with that amazing performance he gave us the skinny on a bit of casting in the film as well as give us a run down on the project so far.

Although known mostly for his mo-cap character work, Andy Serkis is quickly growing into one of my favorite character actors. I really didn't care much for DEATHWATCH, the WW1 battlefield-set horror movie he appeared in a couple years back, however his performance saved the experience for me. I loved seeing him a bit in KING KONG as Lumpy the Cook and the work he did on Kong himself was fantastic.

So, I'm happy to see Serkis getting more high profile character parts... He'll be playing Tesla's assistant in THE PRESTIGE and I, for one, can't wait to see Serkis bounce off of David Bowie.

But I'm already getting ahead of myself. I must surrender the stage to our new spy. Behold the astonishing Swan Cardini!

I can't remember the character's name that Andy Serkis plays, but he's kind of like the igor to David Bowie's Dr. Frankesntein. Tesla and Andy's character have this secret lab out in colorado. they have some wierd deal worked out with this town to provide them with electricity, as long as they can also use the electricity and lab. Something along those lines. Theres really cool scenes with Angier (Hugh Jackman) visiting them and talking with Andy. Theres one part where Andy takes him to this field with thousands of little light bulbs in the ground. Lit up. Angier takes a closer look, pulls one of the light-bulbs and it comes right out of the grass, and goes out. the rest are lit up, just planted in the ground. Andy explains that almost everything is capable of conducting electricity. Even the human body.

Cool little wierd shit is all around in this script. There is an element of magic through all of it. Like magic magic, not stage magic. The theme of the movie, I would say, is that audiences believe in magic. Atleast we WANT to believe in magic. When we go to see magic, we look for the trick, we try to catch the slight of hand, but we don't really WANT to know. We look in the wrong places on purpose. When we do occasionally find out HOW a trick was done, theres always dissapointment. This is all in the story. The main reveal is built-up. You know it could be pure magic. When you find out......even though it is magic-magic-ish........its disappointing. Its better not to know. But you want to know. I was dissapointed in the ending, but its almost as if thats intended. They let the cat out of the bag. I'll stop.

With that, Cardini disappeared off the AICN center stage with only a promise on the wind of his eventual return. I look forward to hearing more from Swan Cardini. Thanks for the heads up, sir!

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 14, 2006, 5:57 a.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    I have a lot of respect for Andy Serkis (although my knowledge of him is admittedly limited). The work he did on Gollum was invaluable and, while I don't know enough about the process of creating 'King Kong' to make any similar statements along those lines, he made the character of Lumpy, who was basically a piece of exposition, into something more interesting. Glad to see he's finding good work.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 6:17 a.m. CST


    by SickPuppy

    Tesla was a freaky genius who did some amazing stuff. It'd be cool if they touch on the goofy theory he was somehow responsible for the 1907 Siberian "impact". I look forward to this for so many reasons.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Swan Cardini...

    by seppukudkurosawa

    is owed a dry clap by the teary-eyed vagrant at the back of the theatre. And I am that vagrant.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Quint, you ignorant slut.

    by DocPazuzu

    Deathwatch was a WWI movie, not WWII. You may be thinking of The Bunker.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 8:06 a.m. CST


    by drjohnnyfever

    sounds like a video game or a Steven Segal movie. Man, where's Vern when you really need him?

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Wait...did someone say......TESLA???

    by Shermdawg

    "And the sign says, you got to have amembership card to get inside. UNH!"

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Fantastic cast for this movie

    by IAmLegolas

    It just gets better and better. Can't wait.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 9:55 a.m. CST

    *SPOILERS* Question about the book's ending

    by Farley Flavors

    I posted this previously on another TalkBack and didn't get any answer, so I'm trying again: ***I'M NOT KIDDING! THERE ARE MAJOR, BOOK-RUINING SPOILERS AHEAD SO IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK AND PLAN TO, STOP READING RIGHT NOW!*** Regarding the very end, I understand that the living Angier transported himself into the dead Angier, but why was he able to stay alive (and apparently immortal) until the present day? It seems like this wasn't really addressed. Or was the man who came out of the crypt at the end not even Angier and I totally missed something?

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 11:29 a.m. CST

    This film is going to be the shit!

    by R.C. the "Wise"

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 11:40 a.m. CST

    That was no spoiler.

    by Christopher3

    Whatchoo talkin bout Willis?

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Lumpy the Cook's death-by-giant-inchworm was the best scene

    by chickychow

    and if thats a spoiler to you, fuck ya.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Serkis was great in that one Jennifer Garner movie...

    by mcflytrap

    ...13 going on 30? Yeah, that's it. What a resume.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 12:51 p.m. CST

    had the book for xmas, i'm lookibg forward to Nolan's st

    by RealDoubleJ

    The book provides an outline for a great story on film. I say this, because while the book has great imagination, it has a confusing narrative. Not going into any detail about plot, but i think reading the novel beforehand will put more people off than going in unknowing. Christopher Priest fumbles the suprises, so I hope Nolan can carry the intrigue and tension between the two magicians better than the original author!!

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 1 p.m. CST

    Farley Flavors *SPOILERS*

    by RealDoubleJ

    After the accident, Angier's copy is not complete and is more of an essence than a person. The other times he performs the act he is able to make perfect clones. Who he kills. But the Angier left on stage is unaware of the other Angier until it's too late and he's dying. Christopher Priest is showing that Angier's soul was grafted out and his body was left as an empty vessel that died because of it. In the novel, the spirit Angier writes of not eating for months that he did not eat or drink but all it did was make his appearance the more horrible to bear. Theoretically, he is immortal and was living in the crypt as a wraith. Imagery-wise, Angier's ghost is finally freed from it's secrets, long buried in the family crypt...depends on how you look at it.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Yes, that's what I read too.

    by matersuspiriorum

    That Angier's noncorporeal essence lived on, not aging or able to die. Before he performs the final transformation when trying to get himself inside the 'original' Angier body, he describes these two possibilities. I think also that it was Angier's 'spirit body' (or whatever) that was calling to his archrivals' great-grandson, able to manipulate him to the crypt through the connection of his own twinner (to borrow a word from the Talisman, which should be made into a movie, please). I do think that, unless they deviate from the book a lot, or plump up certain parts, Bowie/Tesla will not get too much screen time, but I'm glad he's in there nonetheless. Bale as Angier?

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    I loved Lumpy taking desperate drags of his smoke during the Bro

    by Cash Bailey

    That was funny as hell.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Mcflytrap: Go watch 24 Hour Party People...

    by dplatt

    ...for an excellent performance by Serkis. He's virtually unreconizable. As an aside, is anybody else sick of Harry's cutesy headlines? Just say who's in the damn movie, don't give us this guess-who bull.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 1:49 p.m. CST

    "Serkis was great in that one Jennifer Garner movie......13 goin

    by IAmLegolas

    Uh... he was also brilliant as Martin Hannett(legendary post-punk producer) in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. Let's see your resume, mcflytrap. Jerk.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 2:04 p.m. CST

    That wasn't in the book... was it?

    by AhQ

    Sounds cool anyways. Looks like they're fleshing out the whole Tesla character in the film. Probably figure that Bowie will be a big box office draw. Anyway, no complaints from me. BTW- I hope Harlan Ellison dies of jealously by the time this film blows up in the box office. Didn't he basically call Christopher Priest (the author of the book) a failure as a writer at one point?

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I heard they won't include the "present day" parts...

    by Rindain

    ...anyone know if this is true? Anyway, Bowie as Tesla should be awesome, and Serkis is certainly a welcome addition. I can't wait to see The New Transported Man and In a Flash performed by Bale and Jackman!

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 7:21 p.m. CST

    This Should Be Really Interesting

    by skoobyx

    And I mean that in a good way. If there's anyone who can pull off a plot this convoluted its Nolan. I wonder if the studios are going to really push this after Batman Begins, instead of letting it go queitly as art house fare. It's a great story that could capture audiences. BTW who's Scarlett playing, the two timing assistant? Im there.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Dammit, he's not gonna do the moonwalk in this one, is he?

    by Anna Valerious

    Well, like I said, Bowie, Van Helsing and the woman who uttered the words "Crap in a hat" on national television were enough to make me see this...and Serkis just made it better. And I'll prolly be the girl in the audience making perverted giggling during the movie...

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 7:43 p.m. CST

    real double (spoiler alert)

    by Anino

    That's not how I read the ending of the book--from what I gather, the "prestige" was what was left over after the transport--a shell of Angier. Every time he did the trick, a shell of himself would be left behind--that's why the prestiges in the crypt seemed like they were in different states of motion, depending on what his body was doing at the time of the transport. I don't believe they were clones that he was killing. I might be wrong--but that's how I understood the book--feel free to correct me.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Piper Perabo is in, too

    by Plum

    Just as long as we're reporting all the casting for this film, Perabo, according to VARIETY, has been hired, too. For what part I have no idea, but I haven't read the book yet.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 8:27 p.m. CST

    Anino *Spoilers for newbs still reading this TB*

    by RealDoubleJ

    You are indeed correct. The 'prestige' left behind is already dead. The Angier left on stage during the accident should of died but remained corporeal if cancer-ridden at the end. What confused me the most is the fact that each time Angier performs 'In A Flash' he literally kills himself and becomes a new man. The diary format for Angier's narrative was very dry, so it was quite easy to miss details/add your own.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 8:40 p.m. CST

    hmmm...actresses & roles...

    by RealDoubleJ

    I was all confident in saying that Scarlett Johansson was going to play the two-timing assistant but if it's true that Piper Perabo is attached then I fear that Ms. Johansson will take the safe bet and play Angier's wife which is more to the type of characters she normally plays *cough*lesschallenging*cough* On Serkis, I hope he really plays how utterly American the character is in those times. That's the key in playing off a British Lord and a crazy croatian scientist! There's a flawed, but great stage film called 'Mojo' that shows just how much talent lurks underneath Mr. Serkis's facade. That I have absolute confidence that if him & Mr. Bowie showed up for just 5 minutes of this film, they'd still fucking own.

  • Jan. 14, 2006, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Angier's rebirth

    by matersuspiriorum

    He comes out and states in his diary that each performance is a rebirth. It's difficult to understand at first because of the original iron bar used in Tesla's experiment. Plus we never are told what happens to his assistant's cat. So each time he performs the act he leaves behind a shell of himself and is born anew. And I think that Johannsen will play Olive/Olivia since that's a big role and she would likely be cast in a larger role than Perabo. It would provide an interesting twist if the same woman played both magician's wives, though. That's actually where I thought it was going - that they were the same person. I hope this will be a really good movie. Anyone read any other of Priest's books? The Glamour is one that could also make an interesting film if done right.

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 3:23 a.m. CST

    The Ending

    by skoobyx

    I'm with Farley...I didn't totally get the ending either although I just figured maybe it wasn't supposed to make complete sense. One nice thing about books over movies is that they don't always have to conform to a neat set of rules to resolve all the questions. What I got was that the Angier who finishes the diary was a copy that took over when the original Angier died. I also didn't totally understand what happened to the little boy they put through the device. Were they just demonstrating it or was there some other purpose? Anyway, it was a great book and comes highly recommended I can't wait to see thise. I still want Carter Beats The Devil though.

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Old news but good news all the same. This film will own.

    by Silver_Joo

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 1:48 p.m. CST

    The ending

    by Oski

    We'll never know what the argument was about, but throwing the boy into the machine was probably to prove what the machine could do and which ancestor was the better magician. As for the very end, if you didn't know it was Angier, I feel bad for you. The question is what state was he in. I assume that he succesfully transported his ghost into the half Prestige that recently died, but that the body could not be healed and is then stuck in a weakened state, dying, but not able to die. I'm curious what kind of prestige his ghost self left behind.

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Tesla was the ultimate magician

    by Kentucky Colonel

    Lord only knows what wonders lie in the papers that the government confiscated from his estate. I would suggest you read Margret Cheney's wonderful tome "Tesla: Man Out of Time" to acquaint yourself with the REAL Modern Prometheus. BTW- Thomas Edison can eat a dick. Edison was a HACK, a usurper of other's ideas and just an evil old fuck. He used to electrocute dogs & cats (and most elephant) to discredit Tesla'a Alternating Current (AC to DC) as dangerous. Edison was the dangerous one if ya axe me. The film (yes, dear reader, he fucking FILMED it) of the elephant being publicly electroctued can be seen in the very creepy documentary DOCTOR DEATH, a wonderfully macabe film centered on the chap who redesigned the electric chair for most states deathouses before brancing out into gas chambers and then lethal injections. I can't remember his name, but any IMDB search on DOCTOR DEATH will provide you with all the details. So in conclusion...TESLA was the MAN, Edison a FIRST RATE PRICK, and be sure to read "TESLA: MAN OUT OF TIME" by Margret Cheney, who is a brit and no relation to that evil fuck of a VP we have here in the States. FUCK EDISON!!!!

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 3:31 p.m. CST

    A movie about Tesla? Why?

    by Thumper2k1

    They should be making movies on people who have actually contributed to society like sport stars, or musicians. What did Tesla ever do?

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 3:42 p.m. CST


    by Azlam Orlandu

    Owns you fuckfaces! Go to hell and die talkbackers :) I love you really. -Az

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Serkis gearing up to be Nolan's JOKER?

    by Canada's King

    If Serkis can pull off the turmoil/manic of Gollum, he can probably pull off a damn good Joker in the Batman sequel.

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Serkis gearing up to be Nolan's JOKER?

    by Canada's King

    Just to continue, Nolan has a way of taking actors he's worked with and using them again, what with Mark Boone Junior in Memento and Batman, and now Bale and Caine from Batman to Prestige. Perhaps Christopher Nolan is just testing Serkis to see what else he is capable of in terms of non-mo-cap acting?

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 5:41 p.m. CST

    Any Serkis fan must watch SHINER

    by dregmobile

    His talent as an actor, if not clear from TLOTR pics, is obvious here. Good film, and great support performance.

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Uh, Bowie as Tesla?

    by Durendal

    That doesn't seem to fit. Bowie doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who could play an eccentric genius, much less a Bulgarian one. I like Bowie's work, but it seems to be a miscast. I'll reserve judgement until I see it, and I will, because Nikola Tesla was an amazing guy and did some seriously cool shit.

  • Jan. 15, 2006, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Serkis as the Joker...well, perhaps with the right make-up...ya

    by R.C. the "Wise"

  • Jan. 16, 2006, 12:58 a.m. CST

    "DOCTOR DEATH, a wonderfully macabe film..."

    by kintar0

    is actually called "Mr. Death" and it's about Fred Leuchter, a famous Holocaust denier. I wouldn't exactly call the film "wonderfully macabre," unless you call watching this sick fuck scrape the walls of the Auschwitz gas chambers in order to prove the Holocaust never happened wonderful. I don't know, Kentucky Colonel. Most of the film centers on this and it's pretty disgusting. But hey, that probably doesn't bother you.

  • Jan. 16, 2006, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Yes, Leuchter is a sick fuck

    by Kentucky Colonel

    As a matter of fact, it does kind of bother me. People should be aware that there are sick fucks like him around, and more than a few people who would like you to believe that the holocaust never happened (most recently- the govt. of Iran). If more people were to open their eyes to the depravity around us and those who try to deny the presence of REAL, LIVE EVIL in the world (and not some invisible boogeyman named Satan hiding around the corner trying to snatch you) then maybe the world would be a better place. Maybe it goes to show, Kintar0, that I don't obesess on the fucker 'cause I forgot the exact name of the movie. Maybe it's you who likes to "rub one out" while watching him scrape Jew skin samples from the gas chambers? You sure were quick to point out the correct movie title and all...and point the finger at me. So in closing...EAT A DICK. The rest of y'all...have a nice MLK day.

  • Jan. 16, 2006, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Check out "M. Death"....a macabely macabe film

    by Kentucky Colonel

    If you are into that kind of thing. I saw it with my pal who is a movie critic for a minor metropolitan rag...and we were both pretty disturbed by it. Beware the sick fucks out there!

  • Jan. 16, 2006, 2:14 p.m. CST

    the word you're looking for is "macabre."

    by kintar0

    A "macabe" is a fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. And I don't "obesess" on Leuchter, either. I know, I know, Google is very complicated. Yes, I was very quick to point out that you don't know what you're talking about. So quick, in fact, that my comments were posted ten hours after yours. Very quick. And who were you quoting when you typed "rub one out?" I love your "I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about so you "EAT A DICK" defense. But point a finger at you? I can see what you mean, using such definite terms as "I don't know, Kentucky Colonel" and "probably." You're tapdancing, Colonel, but unfortunately, you're not very good at it.

  • Jan. 16, 2006, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Bowie doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who could play an

    by Darth_Dumbass

    WTF??? Bowie IS an eccentric genius.

  • Jan. 17, 2006, 1:36 a.m. CST


    by Durendal

    But not like Tesla was. Bowie has played some kooky characters, but Tesla really doesn't fit into any of them. Like I said, I'll reserve judgement until I see it, but it just doesn't seem to be the kind of role for him.

  • Jan. 17, 2006, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Yeah, I'm a dumbass

    by Kentucky Colonel

    I bow to your infinite wisdom. Didja notice I posted "Mr. Death" as "M. Death", too? Damn it must be great to be omnipotent! But then again, I'm just a backwards ass hillbilly from Kentucky (who happens to work, as a contractor, for the Dept. of Justice). Not that Mr. Bush would spy on you or anything...I'm just sayin'....TESLA is the MAN, though. Ya got to admit that. and I "rub one out" every now and again...when the wife is away or otherwise "off limits", knowhutImean? Lighten up, Francis!!! And the only fish I eat is North Atlantic Cod, so I wasn't familiar with that other fishy. My bad. My tapdancing is admittedly horrible but I can Mambo with the best of 'em. May I have the next dance?

  • Jan. 17, 2006, 11:52 a.m. CST


    by Neaera

    Its not a film about Tesla, hes just one of the important characters in "The Prestige", a story about two feuding magicians. Everyone should go read it now, because its brilliant.

  • Jan. 17, 2006, 12:47 p.m. CST

    The book's ending is clarified in the screenplay...

    by Carson Dyle

    ...but it's been done in a way that keeps the spirit of the original intact (so to speak). "Alley" is the name of Telsa's assistant.