ABC's Deception: Magician Francis Menotti on Making Magic Look Real

Credit: ABC

It's mid-season series premiere time, and ABC is hoping it has a new trick up its sleeve (spoiler: probably won't be the last magic pun) in action/drama-series-with-a-twist Deception. From the creative minds of writer/executive producer Chris Fedak (Chuck) and executive producers Greg Berlanti, Martin Gero, and Sarah Schechter, Deception takes one of those righteously cool concepts you sometimes find yourself debating friends over in a diner at 2 a.m.: start using magicians and escape artists as "special consultants" to law enforcement to help them solve the more complex, head-scratching crimes. Think about that for a second — cool idea, right?

Bleeding Cool was invited on set to get a look behind the scenes of the show's production, and you'll find some pics from the areas that were safe to film (spoilers, people). We also had the opportunity to be part of a series of roundtable interviews with some of the cast and crew — all banking on being able to pull a rabbit out of their hat impressive enough to make a second season pickup appear out of thin air.

Credit: ABC

So over the next four days, we'll be posting our reports from the set — and on Sunday, March 4th, I'll post my thoughts on Deception ahead of the series premiere on Sunday night:

Today: East Coast Magic Consultant Francis Menotti

Thursday: Writer/Executive Producer Chris Fedak

Friday: Ilfenesh Hadera (Kay Daniels)

Saturday: Jack Cutmore-Scott (Cameron Black)

Sunday: Deception Season 1, Episode 1 'Pilot' Review

Deception also stars Lenora Crichlow as Dina Clark; Amaury Nolasco as Mike Alvarez; Justin Chon as Jordan Kwon; Laila Robins as Special Agent Deakins; and Vinnie Jones as Gunter Gustafsen.

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 criminals while staging the biggest illusions of his career.

Working directly with illusionist and series co-producer David Kwong (Now You See Me) as the show's East Coast Magic Consultant, Francis Menotti is a performer, creator, writer, and lecturer who has spent the past 15 years as one of the top most creative magicians today. Prior to his work on Deception, Menotti designed custom magic for several theatre, television, and film projects, including a Travel Channel show for Dan White and director James Gray's 2013 feature film The Immigrant, starring Jeremy Renner (The Avengers).

Menotti was a pleasant surprise to the roundtable schedule, covering a wide range of topics that included what it's like teaching magic to newbies; whether he prefers to be called a "magician" or an "illusionist;" why it's important that the magic looks "real" in the series; and performing for President Barack Obama. Oh, and he did a mind-scarring card trick for us. Though the entire interview was strictly audio, you're going to have to trust me when I tell you that my mind is still a little blown by it.

As part of Bleeding Cool's set visit, I was also given a walk through several of the sets and take pictures of what I first thought was a really cool-looking lounge/cafeteria, but turned out to be the set for Cameron's "fortress of solitude", or base of operations. Here's a look at some of the details you might miss while you're watching — and no, they're not renting it out. I already asked.


deception abc francis menotti interview

ABC's Deception premieres Sunday, March 11th at 10 p.m. ET, immediately following the network's premiere of the revamped American Idol.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

twitter   instagram   envelope