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Daniel Radcliffe is terrible at magic in 'Now You See Me 2'

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Summit Entertainment

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Is there any other major movie star more closely associated with magic than Daniel Radcliffe? That’s exactly why it was such a shock (and a treat) to see the former Harry Potter star appear at the very end of the first Now You See Me 2 trailer fumbling a deck of cards. (What was all that Hogwarts tuition money for?)

As the antagonist of the upcoming magician thriller sequel — which also features returning stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Dave Franco, alongside newcomer Lizzy Caplan — Radcliffe certainly seems to be having some fun with his public persona. His character, a mysterious tech-mogul named Walter, wears his lackluster magic talent as a core feature on his personality.

“Walter definitely plays the anti-magician, who maybe used to love magic, but he’s horrible at it,” director Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) says. “He’s been burnt by it, so he’s turned to science. Science is the real magic to him. He basically takes these Horsemen [Eisenberg, Harrelson, Franco, Caplan] on a ride. He now owns the Horsemen in a way that they have to escape his magic trick.”

Though his card work might be laughable, when it came time to show up to set as Walter, Radcliffe wasn’t messing around. Typically a table read is a very literally named rehearsal — the cast sits around a table and reads the script aloud — but Radcliffe showed up with his lines already memorized.

“That’s how precise and how far ahead he works on all of this stuff,” Chu says. “He owned it.”

So maybe that time with Hermione paid off after all.

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