Which is why Isla Fisher accepted the role of the bold and sassy illusionist, Henley, in the film Now You See Me, opening on June 7
The immensely talented and likeable Isla Fisher (she was Rebecca in The Confessions of a Shopaholic) is back with a bang. She was Myrtle in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and now she is all set to play a magician swimming with piranhas in Now You See Me releasing on June 7. In this email interview, the effervescent actor talks about her role
What drew you to the film?
I read the script and I loved it. It just had elements of an interesting movie, a good story, interesting people were attached and so many weird contrasting elements — romance, action, a heist. My character is of Henley, the escape artist. Her brilliance and audacity are intimidating to Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg). Once she came into her own, their relationship metamorphosed into more of a sibling rivalry. She’s fearless, which is a lot of fun to play and a big reason I took the movie. In real life, I’m kind of a fraidy cat.
Can you tell us about your role?
She’s an escapologist, an illusionist. She’s like a lion tamer — she’s fearless — but she’s also vulnerable, particularly around Atlas because they had a romantic history and I guess he’s so much more focused on the work and she tries to get his attention and it doesn’t really work out for her. She’s a really great character to play. She’s just so confident, so sassy, and she’s such a firecracker. She’s really worn off on me. I find myself strutting around my everyday life and being a lot braver in situations where I wouldn’t necessarily be as brave before. I feel like all the characters I’ve inhabited, I’ve always taken away a few traits and kept them for myself and this character I feel like hopefully it’ll be her confidence.
Getting out of a 100-gallon, piranha-filled water tank while shackled hand and foot... how did you manage that?
There weren’t any piranhas during the shoot. I was chained under water. They had a guy who was off camera, but he was a long way away with a can of oxygen. By the time I realised I couldn’t get up and beckoned for him, I realised that I had run out of air. I had a quick release on my wrists and a quick release on my feet but the chain that was tying my wrists to my ankles; it got looped around the bottom of the tank. I’d already been under for two and a half minutes and I couldn’t get up for air. Luckily, I managed to get free and stay level-headed and got out before it went even more horribly wrong. No one wants to go in a swimming costume.
Do you prefer comedic roles or drama?
I rely on gut instinct to accept a role. If there’s something really terrifies me and I think I’m going to ruin it, then I’m going to do it. Like Now You See Me, where I’m playing this sexy magician who swims with piranhas. I’m like, why would I be offered that role? I don’t see myself as particularly brave or sultry, which is what was called for. So I took the job because it's interesting.
Can you share your experience of working with your co-stars?
Working with the cast was fun. Woody’s character is always hitting on my character and my character is exhausted by it, but vaguely amused. He’s such an endearing character, Merritt, because of where he comes from, his backstory. Woody’s hilarious too. He’s always trying to do this mentalism on us. It’s like, ‘Woody, you’re never going to guess what number we’re thinking so let it go.’ This is the most fun movie I’ve ever worked on. But Michael Caine was probably the greatest buzz. He was an utter gentleman on set, a consummate professional and obviously brilliantly talented. It was a little bit like winning the lottery for me. And just hearing Morgan Freeman speak every day! Everybody knows that deep, soulful, calming, godlike voice.
What is next?
Well, I hadn’t really worked for three years until I took Gatsby — and Bachelorette, which was only a few days — so I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, so coming back to work is rewarding and exciting and as fun as it’s been, I definitely miss being at home again, so I’d like to be able to take a big chunk of time off again now and just get back into my sweatpants and return to my old life.