By Michael Slezak
July 17, 2006 at 08:28 PM EDT

The world is about to discover what Claudia Schiffer has known for years: Magicians are hot! No, not because David Blaine is about to be swallowed by a whale (though that would be a nifty trick), but because three upcoming movie releases focus on illusionists, and all of ’em look pretty intriguing.

The one I’m most excited about is the film adaptation of Christopher Priest’s novel The Prestige, from director Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, Memento), starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman (pictured) as magicians whose fierce competition turns deadly. While the trailer packs in oodles of information (and eerie turn-of-the-century sleight-of-hand contraptions), it doesn’t give away so much that you feel like you know all its secrets (that haunting ”I know what you really are!” is still giving me chills). And with Scarlett Johansson and Michael Caine rounding out the cast, you can count me in when it hits theaters this fall.

Ever the trendsetters, J-o-h-a-n-s-s-o-n and Jackman (I’m not the only one who likes to call him Huge Ackman, am I?) can also be seen later this month in Woody Allen’s Scoop, another film that’s got a  magic trick at its core. Unfortunately, though, the director’s trademark humor seems to have done a disappearing act from the preview, so I’m taking a wait-and-see approach.

And then, there’s another thriller, The Illusionist (due Aug. 18), which boasts a rock solid cast of its own, including Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel. This one looks like a tasty mashup of suspense and romance, too, and while it’s not as high on my must list as The Prestige, it’s still bound to raise the profiles of folks like Blaine, Penn & Teller, and Misty Lee.

Of course, all those movies aside, if Arrested Development‘s Will Arnett wins the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, that’d be the real magic. Just make sure you don’t call it a trick, because, as his Gob would tell you, that’s something a whore does for money. And Gob’s work is better than that. (Click here and here to see for yourself.)

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