David Blaine’s electromagnetic stunt, Electrified: One Million Volts Always On, began Friday evening, meaning the magician spent his weekend standing on a 20ft platform in New York’s Pier 54 in the middle of one million volts of electric current streamed by Tesla coils. (Tesla coils were invented by Serbian-American scientist Nikola Tesla for generating high-voltage bursts of electricity. The more you know!) However, Blaine is wearing a chainmail suit made of highly conductive stainless steel — also known as a Faraday suit — so the current doesn't actually touch him.
No doubt, that's a fact that would disappoint some fans of Blaine who are used to seeing the magician deliberately endure extreme torture in exhibits like 2000's "Frozen in Time" (during which he encased himself in ice for 63 hours) and 2006's "Drowned Alive" (during which he submerged himself in water for seven days). “Unlike what uneducated people think, voltage is not what matters,” Walter Lewin, Professor of Physics Emeritus at MIT, tells Hollywood.com. “It’s the current that matters."
And because the Faraday suit is conducting the electrical current, there is little to no danger to Blaine. In fact, Lewin himself has done something like this for educational purposes. “During lectures, I often bring my body at a potential of about one million volts,” Lewin said. “Even three million volts — provided you know what you are doing — can be very safe. The crazy thing here is that this idiot wants to stand for 72 hours without food and drink. That is madness, somewhat dangerous, not because of the million volts.”
Indeed, Blaine’s most dangerous aspects of this stunt are staying awake for three days straight with no food (only a tube that delivers water), no rest, and in the middle of speakers constantly blaring loud, audience-attracting music. For some fans, that is the most impressive part of the event. Megan Valdez and Jessica Brown visited Pier 54 on Saturday evening to see Blaine’s performance after hearing about it from a former teacher of Brown's who currently lives in Spain. (And, interestingly enough, Blaine's stunt has invited plenty of chatter overseas — press has been covering the display thanks to a live stream to audiences in London, Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney via the Electrified YouTube channel.) "It's amazing that he can literally stand there for that long and deal with the music,” Valdez said.
In fact, fans didn't seem to care for the scientific aspect of the display — for Brown, enduring the loud atmosphere and a lack of sleep was worthy enough of awe. “The music probably would kill me because I have sensitive ears," Brown said. "So I think that there’s a lot of elements besides just standing on that pole that people probably aren’t taking into account. Besides that fact that he’s also standing for that long, he’s not sleeping, he’s not eating, he’s not drinking.” Plus, for some, it doesn't hurt that the spectacle is visually stunning — Blaine stands in the center of a steel cage, wearing the mesh suit, and watches bright blue tendrils of electricity jump out at him. Add in the loud crackling of the volts and the music played on the keyboard, and it made for an intense viewing experience. (Of course, watching Blaine himself — standing, waving at the crowd, and stretching his legs — wasn't quite so interesting.) “I saw this on the Internet,” said another spectator, Mike Weiss, who visited the display with his son, Robert. “The last time we came and saw him, he was in the water for like three days. Pretty cool stuff, but this is way cooler than the water.”
Of course, not everyone was cool with some realities of the spectacle. Said Valdez in horror watching Blaine, “He’s peeing in a catheter!” Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum [Photo Credit: WENN] More: Darren Aronofsky electrifies David Blaine during latest stunt Chris Rock electrifies David Blaine during New York stunt Beyoncé Joins Jay-Z on Stage During New York Concert — VIDEOS
It seems street-smart magician David Blaine's distinctive brand of urban magic--mind reading, sleight of hand and his now famous levitation--caught the attention of quite a few Hollywood hot shots several years ago, including veteran actor Robert De Niro.
Performing his tricks at trendy clubs and restaurants across both coasts, Blaine soon found himself adored by legions of stars--Madonna, Spike Lee, Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Geffen. He captured the heart of singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, though they've since broken up, and more recently he's been attached to Cover Girl model Josie Moran.
Now that's a life of which movies are made, and De Niro took notice.
In 1997 the "goodfella" bought the rights to make a film about Blaine's life, and rumors have circulated that Leonardo DiCaprio--a known associate of Blaine's who also happens to be dating a model, Brazil's finest Gisele Bündchen--would star.
Big names, cool project, magic, guys who date models and rock stars--it has all the makings of a potential Hollywood blockbuster. So Hollywood.com decided to investigate the movie, and the people attached to it, in this first installment of our newest column, Hot Projects.
In with the in crowd
It all started in 1997, when ABC gave Blaine, then 24, his first television special, David Blaine: Street Magic. Here's the connection. DiCaprio hosted it. Blaine became an overnight success (the network later went on to produce three other specials, David Blaine: Magic Man, David Blaine: Buried Alive and David Blaine: Frozen in Time), and the Titanic star and the good looking trickster with grunge appeal became buds.
Before he knew it, Blaine was running around town partying with DiCaprio's posse, which included Tobey Maguire, Lukas Haan and skateboarder Tony Hawk. The posse was known for tearing up the New York club scene and obsessing over--you guessed it--models.
But DiCaprio and Blaine reportedly had a falling out. Some sources blamed it on DiCaprio's bratty behavior and jealousy over the attention Blaine was receiving; others rumored it was over a woman. She was probably a model.
Whatever the reason, suffice it to say DiCaprio will not be starring in the film.
"It is not confirmed," DiCaprio's publicist Ken Sunshine said about the role. "It's a lie."
So that's settled. No word yet on who will play Leo.
The De Niro connection
In addition to owning the rights to the story, it's been said that De Niro will star in the film as a magician who takes Blaine under his wing. While MGM Pictures confirmed that Trick Monkey is on their development list, publicists for De Niro's production company, Tribeca Productions, which develops projects in which De Niro serves as producer, director and/or actor, said they had no information available on the film.
Jim Uhls, whose last project was Fight Club starring Brad Pitt, has already written the screenplay.
No one's talking about who will play Blaine's various love interests.
We can tell De Niro's future
Well, we know this much anyway. We'll see several other De Niro projects before this one ever comes to fruition. In Showtime, about cops who go on a reality TV show to boost the department's image, De Niro stars with Eddie Murphy and Rene Russo. That just wrapped last month. Also wrapped are About a Boy, starring Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette and De Niro, and City by the Sea starring De Niro, Frances McDormand and James Franco.
Along with Billy Crystal, De Niro is also currently in talks to reprise his role as Paul Vitti in a sequel to Analyze This, Analyze This Too.
In 2001 Blaine will bring his magic show to Broadway, and Villard Books publish will his first book, Mysterious Stranger this fall.
Magician David Blaine performs illusions and stunts that seem to defy logic and reason. Blaine freezes himself in a block of ice for 72 hours in the middle of New York City, only to be freed from his huge ice cube, live on television.