Seven Things You Need to Know About ABC’s New Show Deception
During the #WrinkleInTimeEvent we had the opportunity to screen quite a few shows coming to ABC television. We had the opportunity to screen the pilot episode of Deception. After the screening, we got to sit down with CHRIS FEDAK (“Deception” Creator & Executive Producer) and DAVID KWONG (“Deception” Co-Producer) to talk about the show. When I first heard about the show I didn’t know what to expect and I have to admit I was surprised at how much I actually liked it. If you’re sitting on the fence about the show, here’s seven things you need to know that I hope will encourage you to tune in because you will want to know more.
When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, influence, and illusion — the FBI. Using every trick in the book and inventing new ones, he will help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminal while staging the biggest illusions of his career, on “Deception,” premiering SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (10:01–11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.
“Deception” stars Jack Cutmore-Scott as Cameron Black/Jonathan Black, Ilfenesh Hadera as Kay Daniels, Lenora Crichlow as Dina Clark, Amaury Nolasco as FBI Agent Mike Alvarez, Justin Chon as Jordan Kwon, Laila Robins as FBI Agent Deakins and Vinnie Jones as Gunter Gustafsen.
Jack Cutmore-Scott Loves Magic and Was Ready to Learn
Of course, when you’re looking at a show involving magic we wanted to know how much magic did Jack Cutmore-Scott knew before he started the show since it seemed so easy to him.
David Kwong: Well we got very lucky that Jack Cutmore-Scott is very dexterous and loves magic. And he didn’t have the skills already but he worked very-very hard and continues to work with me and our New York magician Francis Menotti, and he’s always got a deck of cards on him, he’s always got a pocketful of coins. And it becomes an obsession, it’s like a practice hobby, you just keep at it and keep at it.
Chris Fedak: It was crazy, it was like when we cast the show, we always assumed, we’ll have David’s hands doing all the magic. But then as we got closer and we cast Jack and we were lucky to get him, it’s like we had charming we had handsome. And the thing is is that he’s also an obsessive. So as we were walking around the production offices in New York getting ready for the shoot, I’d see Jack working on a trick, and I just thought, I’ll just tell him we’ll just do the viz effects. And it’s like that’s not okay for him, he is a perfectionist.
And he would be out there, again there’s a scene from the hangar. And it was twenty degrees that day and so like everybody is wearing their regular outfits, but like off camera we’re all in giant space suits because it’s so cold. And so Jack was doing a trick and he does it on screen, but I asked Francis our New York Magician, I said, how hard is this trick right now and he’s just like, it’s impossible, that’s a brick, it’s like that’s how cold it is. But Jack is that passionate. So it was wonderful. We had a person who could learn the magic and every once in a while, it’s like I’ll hear the magicians going, how does he learn this so fast. It’s supposed to take ten thousand hours.
It’s Like Other Shows and Different At the Same Time
Just looking at online comments and responses from people online, I know that people feel like this show could be like other shows they’ve seen in the past. One of the ladies in the room had the same thought so she asked and I can say while it has some similar aspects it’s also different.
Chris Fedak: I really wanted to make a fun network show, I wanted to make a show that was like you’re going to sit down, and I’m going to entertain you, and this is going to be the most fun you could possibly have. And that’s where this show comes from, it was designed to be a network TV show and that’s why ABC was the perfect home for it. But to what you’re saying, it’s like for me, I love when shows take other shows and- you sort of mush them together and you get something special out of that, so there’s definitely elements of this show that have a bit Castle elements or Sherlock.
I’d love for those comparisons and essentially that’s a big part of Deception because that’s what I watch. But the other thing too is I also like romance and I like comedy. And since this is ABC, it’s like I want those elements to be a part of the show too. And so yeah so it’s definitely a mashup. But the other thing too is that it’s an action show, I grew up on action shows, I grew up on A-Team I grew up on essentially shows where we blow stuff up.
So it won’t always be like catching the murderer of the week, we’ll do different types of episodes, we’re going to do hostage situations, bomb threats, all these different types of things and we’re always going to try to solve them in our own unique way. Because as a writer, what’s amazing working with David is that magicians come in everything from a much different perspective. They come at it from almost an engineering perspective. So there’s so many times when I’m working on an action sequence, and I know how to do it because I’ve done it before or like I have a twist on it or a joke or something along those lines.
They Get Input from Other Magicians
We asked how much of the show have they shared with other magicians and what kind of input they have received from the community.
David Kwong: We were very careful and my partner in crime Francis and I, we would show our friends and call people up and run things by them. And these are people build their careers on these trade secrets, so we had to be very-very careful to stay away from anything that would ruin anyone’s magic show. So there’s a couple of rules. If something is a hundred years old, and no one is doing that anymore, you can usually put that on screen.
Right? But that’s an important caveat. If someone has resurrected something from a hundred years ago and they’re now doing it and they’re making a career out of it, like leave it alone. The other fun thing is if we just come up with it on the spot and we invent our own new method, new trick, we can put that on screen, because it’s our own thing.
It Won’t Ruin The Magic or Magic
It’s funny we love seeing magic shows, and while we are always wondering how the trick is done we really don’t want to have that magic taken away from us. The goal of the show isn’t to take any of that magic away from us.
Chris Fedak: But the other thing what’s fascinating for us is that there’s people that don’t want to know, there’s people who want to figure it out, there’s people who get upset. We’ll have writers in the room going, how do you do it? And then also for the magicians too it’s like sometimes it’s like how far ahead are they than you. And so for David being a magician will watch stuff and want to know how it’s done. But there’s always that kind of like that’s the cool thing about the show too is that the mystery woman, and we do call her the mystery woman, for most of the season or M W.
She really is an illusionist in her own right. And so it’s fun to kind of watch them dual. Because Cameron wants to figure it out and the fact that she’s one step ahead, always a little bit smarter, that drives him nuts. So it’s a fun dual and it’s about smarts, it’s about how quick you are in a way, now I’m slow, so I’m always like one step behind. And since I’m writing I know and wish I wasn’t, if I was out in the audience, I would be the one that wouldn’t figure it out but still I kind of like that.
The Show is Built Around The Trick and The Script
We wanted to know how they developed the episodes and then created the tricks or if they started with a magic trick and then proceeded with the script.
Chris Fedak: It was cool, at the beginning of the year David essentially stepped out with all the writers and like we sit in the writers room and our writers room is a little bit different because there’s this one whole board where it’s like he did a class where he essentially went through different theories of magic, put them up on the board, then we talked about them. And then on all the other boards, we’d talk about the story and what we want to do and how we’re going to break down the season and all the mystery stuff.
And each individual episode and like what we’re excited about. And then we merged the two together, said which thing goes with this. Because the better the deception, it the illusion matches up with the emotions that we’re doing in that episode, that’s when we’re really kind of hitting that sweet spot. And I think what we’ve learned over the course of the season is that we can do a lot. It’s like, you know. We have cases, we have those elements of the story, we have like some great guest stars coming in this season. But we can also go big there’s lots of crazy things that we do and that was fun to see.
They Focus on Safe Magic With A Few Stunts
We wanted to know how dangerous some of the magic was on the show. We all have seen some of those stunts that we look at and wondered if the tricks were very dangerous. David stated that he doesn’t dabble in dangerous magic but they do have some good stunts in the show.
Chris Fedak: Well here’s the crazy thing like we did a lot of it for real, I mean look at the opening sequence, when Jack is hanging upside down thirty feet above a stage, we built that whole thing in New York and it was like it was Jack upside down and it seems like someone should have stopped this. But one of the great things about our show is that we have an amazing stunt crew and an amazing pilot shop and an incredible director.
There’s stunts and they’re built into it. But in regards to inside the story of the show, the stakes are very real. And we had to we had to hit this tone exactly right which is like we wanted to have real stakes, and you’ll see that as the season plays out.
What I thought was cool was that once you’re on the other side of a trick, it’s like you really hope that thing works. Because like on a stage for the most part it’s fine because if it doesn’t work, you play around with it. And also it’s like sometimes if a magician has a problem, like they come up with a different solution as they go, they always have other outs out of the trick. But for Cameron, he messes up he’s dead if the illusion doesn’t work he’s dead and those stakes are real.
That’s the kind of Magician Impossible side of the show, it’s like those are real bad guys that we’re going up against. But I love the idea that if your performance isn’t on prime, you’re dead.
This Is A Show For Everybody
When we were talking about how would like this show, it’s hard to say that parents with kids could end up watching it with them due to the time slot. We asked who the show was for since it seems like it could appear to tweens and their parents. According to Chris, it’s a show for everyone.
Chris Fedak: The people in this room, it’s funny, for me I don’t know. I never know until the show really gets out there and who watches it who gets excited by it. But in truth for me, I did the show for everybody. I think that as David said, it’s like there is a fourteen year old girl who is going to be a huge magician someday and hopefully maybe she watches this show and gets excited and starts practicing.
And starts doing the ten thousand hours to get to the point where they can do these tricks. And you never really know until the show gets out there. I actually showed it to my dad last night and he’s an insurance salesman so he gets really excited about things. And it was interesting to see what he was thinking, he got it. But he is my dad so I guess he had to, but I think it’s made for anybody who’s looking to have like fun watching TV Sunday nights at ten o’clock after Idol.
After our interview, David Kwong treated us to a short magic show and it was so much fun. He got us all involved in the trick and thanks to Vera of Lady and the Blog you get to see it as well.
Deception premiers on Sunday, March 11th after the premiere of American Idon on ABC. Get social and like & follow on social media to learn more about the show: