"Magic" Mostly Smoke and Mirrors

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So what's real and what's fake? The coin sequence looks like sleight of hand.

KK: The coffee vendor was a real magician, he was a professional and he was teaching [the other actors] how to do the coin tricks. I think there was just one practice day, not too overly involved, with a little help from the Mill.

Did you guys think about making all the magic real?

KK: Well, there's an aesthetic JC Penney want with their casting, an aspirational quality. We're trying to make the casting more approachable, to make every person less model-y. We wanted actors, and good learners. Most of the stuff was pretty simple, the rabbit and the scarf, the coins. The car, the pencil, the body—those are all from the Mill.

How did they do the phone booth?

KK: What you see on TV is reversed—they dropped the water from above down and we flipped it so it comes from below.

It seems like teams move around a lot—how does that work?

KK: Nobody's really assigned to an account, the creative directors are. We move. It's to whoever's available. Everybody wants to work on JC Penney—there are good ideas, big budgets and the directors who want to work on this are incredible. It's hard, it still is fashion and there are things you need to consider, like having a really interesting idea that can showcase merchandise. Teams are assigned, based on who's doing what, but the people who were there when I arrived, about a year ago, they have all worked on it. The team that did "Zombies" and "Doodle Heart" had been on Head & Shoulders for two years. It was a breakout opportunity for them, and they turned out to be great. Music's similar, we've got a really great music producer, we open up music to the whole floor, and we've been really luck with music we haven't heard before. We listened to over a hundred tracks for "Magic." We keep going and going with music until it's right.

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