8. June 2005

Director Neil Burger and producer Cathy Schulman have wrapped production on The Illusionist after 46 days of shooting in various locations in the Czech Republic. Burger (Interview With The Assassin) wrote the screenplay based on Steven Millhauser’s short story Eisenheim The Illusionist. Shot by Dick Pope (Vera Drake), the film stars Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel and Rufus Sewell. The film is produced by Schulman's Bull's Eye Entertainment with backing from Bob Yari. Bob Yari Productions also produced Schulman's upcoming release Thumbsucker, starring Keanu Reeves. Schulman says she does not intend to show the film to distributors until it is finished. "We should finish post-production on the film by the end of November 2005, so my guess is that it'll go to one of the either late-2005 or early-2006 festivals." "The Illusionist is basically supported off the international pre-sales and the domestic video value, which covers us for the investment in the film," Schulman told ScreenDaily.com. "The domestic theatrical deal is really gravy." Schulman and Burger saw the Czech Republic as an obvious choice for the location for their film, which is set in turn-of-the-century Vienna. "There are cheaper places at this point to shoot than Prague, but they don't have the bones and the beauty and the variety of locations that are perfect for this movie," Burger said. This year, the Czech Republic has hosted a slew of productions, including Doom, Last Holiday and The Pink Panther. Local production house Barrandov Studios says it is negotiating with Eon Productions to host the next James Bond film, Casino Royale. Matthew Stillman and David Minkowski of Prague's Stillking Films co-produce The Illusionist with Tom Karnowski. International sales are being handled by Syndicate Films International.