David Blaine almost doesn't make it in time for an interview call, but he's got a very good reason -- his and fiancee Alizee Guinochet's toddler daughter, Dessa.
"It's hard to put her down even for a phone call as important as this," Blaine tells Zap2it. "She'll be 3 in a few months. Everything she does is magic. I'm the fraud; she's the real deal."
After years of becoming known for such dangerous, death-defying stunts as being imprisoned in a block of ice, standing on a towering pole, being submerged in a water-filled sphere and being surrounded by electric Tesla coils, Brooklyn, N.Y., native Blaine has returned to his first love, traditional magic performed on the street and up close.
Shot over the course of a year, the 90-minute "David Blaine: Real or Magic" airs on Tuesday, Nov. 19. It features such celebrities as Jamie Foxx, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Ricky Gervais, Katy Perry, Woody Allen and Robert De Niro. Along with visiting the homes of Kanye West, Harrison Ford, Will Smith and Olivia Wilde -- and Stephen Hawking's office at Cambridge University -- Blaine also does tricks for ordinary folks.
But what he loves best are the reactions.
"When I do magic for people," Blaine says, "it's almost like I live vicariously through them. I thrive off of people's reactions. That's what I live for, almost, in a weird way, as a magician.
"I look for those kinds of moments where the person is completely unguarded and reacting as they would if there wasn't a camera."
In a time when people are inundated with computer-generated effects, shocking them with the real is a challenge.
"Because of all the big special effects," says Blaine, "and all the TV tricks and all the things that build our skepticism, in order to pull that away, I had to go for very simple things that you know are real, with objects that you know, that are being done right in front of your eyes.
"We've been shooting day and night, hours and hours, to get those moments. And those moments are hard to come by, but ultimately we've gotten the great reactions I love."
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