(Courtesy of ABC/Giovanni Rufino)
From our set visit into ABC’s newest crime drama, Deception, Villain Media has an exclusive interview with actor Jack Cutmore-Scott discussing his role as magician extraordinaire Cameron Black. Get ready to fight crime and learn a few magic tricks alongside magician Cameron Black (Scott) and FBI agent Kay Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera).
As we previously mentioned, the career of superstar Las Vegas magician Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) may have been ruined by scandal. But he’s found another place to put his skills of deception, influence, and illusion to use; the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a consulting illusionist, Cameron uses every trick — even while inventing new ones as necessary — to help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminals and solve crimes that defy all explanation.
Before an all-new episode of Deception airs March 18th at 10pm, Scott reveals what audiences should expect from Cameron Black during the upcoming season. In his character profile, Black is struggling to to make a professional comeback after a personal loss. In our recap of the pilot, viewers watched as Black eventually teamed-up with Daniels in their action-packed origin story.
[Spoilers: In case you haven’t seen the episode, please read our recap and watch the premiere on ABC. From this point-on, we’re diving deep into the pilot.]
In our recap, the pilot establishes Jonathan (Scott) being arrested for leaving a car crash, where an innocent woman was found dead. Claiming his innocence, Jonathan says the dead woman was not the mysterious Femme Fatale (Stephanie Corneliussen) he got in the car with.
While at the Deception set, Hadera explains the give-and-take dynamic between Black and her character, Kay Daniels, “The reason our relationship works so well is that they each have something to offer. I have all my resources with the FBI and hopefully figure out who set his brother up for this murder. He [Cameron] can walk me through these steps with these criminals who pull off their crimes.”
From his perspective on the relationship between Daniels and Black, Scott adds, “What’s been fun about our characters, and the relationships between the two of them, is we’ve been learning and developing as we go. Cameron and Kay came in not knowing each other. They’re coming from different perspectives, different mindsets. Their relationship has grown and developed during the season so far.”
Scott compares their counterparts to each other, “I think that’s true of actors as well. You get thrown into something. You’re expected to immediately gel. You do it to a certain extent. You just learn more and more about each other, and the relationship develops.”
During the episode, we see these crowd-cheering moments of Black performing his magic. In an unedited take, Black burns a poker card in a flash before it changes into an apple. I ask, “What’s that like? Juggling these two different things, hitting your mark and doing these magic tricks?”
Scott responds, “Yeah, it sounds so simple! But it’s a big part of the challenges of this job. Trying to come off as being extremely comfortable with something that I am really just learning on the job. It’s been a little something extra to think about.”
Referring to his magician consultant, Scott says, “I’m very lucky to have Francis [Menotti] looking after me everyday. He’s my eyes. He’ll watch the monitors as we go and make sure if anything isn’t working, he’ll tell me. I can’t know for myself because I’m focused on something else.
The pilot opens with Cameron Black performing an elaborate illusion in front of an audience. On display, Scott owns the stage as the charismatic showman. In this extended one take, everything is done in front of the camera, without any edits.
Scott mentions, “It’s like what we were talking before, when we’re combining the magic with the performance, It’s an elaborate and important trick. While performing in a one take, which you see in the beginning. I’m doing some card sleight-of-hand, while talking to the camera. It was important for that shot to work and be impressive, while it all happened in one shot. There’s no cutting away or any of that. The trick is not to get over-excited when it works and stay calm. That’s normal for Cameron.”
Not only does Scott have to deliver his lines, and play the card tricks, he also has to act opposite himself as Jonathan Black. Thanks to the magic of editing, a stand-in, and split-screen effects, the Deception actor is able to deliver two different kind of performances.
Scott further explains, “The majority of the season has been exploring the fact that Jonathan and Cameron, despite being complete opposites, are the same person. Their public persona is identical. As a result, Jonathan is better at playing Cameron than Cameron can. However, Cameron’s private persona hasn’t been developed very much. He’s always been on stage, Jonathan is a private person in reality. You have these two brothers who are two side of a same coin.”
Scott describes his other persona, “Jonathan has spent a year in prison. That changes a person. How would that change him? How would it change Cameron that his brother has been in prison for a year? Those have been my main two focuses to explore.”
He clarifies, “Keeping them very similar because they are but gradually let them drift apart a little bit. Because it’s the first time in their lives they’ve been independent of each other.”
Scott interprets the other sibling, “I like that Cameron is open-hearted. He really does see the way Jonathan once did through rose-colored glasses. He has a very optimistic outlook on life. In the same breath, I appreciate Jonathan’s cynicism and realism. They balance each other in that way.”
In the upcoming Forced Perspective, airing March 18th at 10pm, Cameron continues to focus on helping his brother. Meanwhile, Cameron and Kay stumble upon a case that involves unsuspecting tourists. Will they be able to save the tourists in time as they participate in a deadly reality show?
[Writer’s Note: Links are highlighted in bold. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
Right after American Idol, Deception airs on ABC Sundays at 10pm.
By Jorge Solis