David Copperfield gets a kick out of seeing people try to copy his illusions.
In a revealing new interview, the legendary magician, 66, told CBS Sunday Morning that he actually posts fake videos online to throw off people who think they know how he pulls off his famous stunts, which have included seemingly slicing people in half to making the Statue of Liberty vanish.
Over the years the jaw-dropping illusions have seen so-called “explainers” pop up online from those who try to break down how each “trick” — a word Copperfield himself tries to avoid — works. Some of these “explainers,” the magician admitted to CBS’s Tracy Smith, are ones he’s posted, “as somebody else,” to intentionally misdirect fans.
Why? “Because it’s fun!” he told Smith.
In 2018, the illusionist was forced to reveal the secrets of his “Lucky #13” stunt in court after being sued by a former participant who claimed he was injured while taking part; Copperfield was ultimately found negligent but not financially responsible for the man’s injuries. Under normal circumstances, however, he takes pains to follow the magician’s code, though he did give Smith and CBS a rare sneak peek at his current work.
“I think this is the first time we’ve discussed the journey, the process, on national TV,” said Copperfield, while explaining that each of his illusions start out a a sketch on paper. Some become a 3-D model, like his upcoming project, which will entail having a bunch of people either disappear or fly. Still, he maintained an element of mystery and declined to share details.
At 66 years old, the billionaire illusionist legend has no interest in slowing down. Father to a teenage daughter he shares with longtime girlfriend Chloe Gosselin, Copperfield is still doing 15 shows a week, which means performing three shows on Saturdays and “no days off.” His motivation, he told Smith, is his sheer passion for magic.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’m fortunate, you know, to walk out there and people are kind of happy to be there, you know? And some people actually need to be there. People are in the front row, and I can see in their face: Take me away, I need to dream.”
He also loves proving people wrong, including the naysayers who show up to his show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“There can be 20,000 in an arena; there’s one lady in the front row with her arms crossed, and that’s the one I want,” he shared. “That lady, I have to try to … make her smile, you know?”
Just don’t call his complex work “magic tricks.”
“My ‘magic’ is real, to a certain degree,” he said. “When you hear people call them ‘magic tricks,’ it’s kind of like … I understand, I accept it, I use the word ‘trick,’ I did it today. But it’s kind of diminishing all the hard work that goes in that in-between part, from when it’s not there and when it’s there.”