Indeed, in one segment, Blaine bites into a wine glass in front of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is a tad shocked. And even Blaine admits that it’s starting to take a toll on his body.
“That one I have to stop,” he admitted to IndieWire. “Every time I drink hot and cold, I really feel it. That one I’ll agree with [the dentist] on. It doesn’t mean that I’ll stop. But I’ll agree with him.”
“David Blaine: Beyond Magic” follows Blaine as he attempts to perfect the challenge of catching a bullet in his mouth. It’s not easy, and viewers will see Blaine struggle with it: “It’s a very dark note for an ABC special,” he admitted. (But spoiler alert: Blaine is still alive.)
Besides Schwarzenegger, the new special includes Blaine’s performances in front of celebrities including David Beckham, Johnny Depp, Drake, Steph Curry, Dave Chappelle, John Travolta, Patrick Stewart and Emma Stone.
Blaine said he enjoys performing for stars because their reactions are more honest. He said audiences on other TV magic shows are “so over the top that you just assume it’s easy for anybody on the street to fake their reaction.” Celebs, on the other hand, “are extremely elusive characters and entertainers is that you know they’re not just going to give a reaction and be nice. They’re all pretty honest and almost reluctant in a way to be on camera. That’s part of the challenge and part of the fun.”
But is Blaine really having fun? The magician famously remains stoic even as people react to his tricks. But he told us there’s a reason behind that: “Whenever I’m done doing magic in most cases when people are reacting, I’m really thinking about what I could have done to tweak it. I’m reanalyzing what happened. I’m stone faced not because I’m not happy or excited, its more a work in progress, trying to make sense out of how to make it better.”
“Beyond Magic,” directed by Matthew Akers, also takes a different approach than past Blaine specials, as it explores more behind-the-scene moments with the magician (including that visit to the dentist). Viewers will see how disturbed the magic consultants around Blaine are when he continues to pursue danger for the sake of his art.
“I weigh everything and listen to the people around me but ultimately you still have to make decisions based on what your idea and concept is for the show,” he said. “I think people have been telling me [not to do things] my whole life, so I’m kind of used to that.”
But especially now that he’s a parent, Blaine said he has a different outlook on trying to stay safe. “The combination of everything together is definitely taking a toll [on my body], chipping away slowly,” he said. “But I do everything in my power to counteract that. I’m really concerned about having the right micronutrients every day and trying to reverse what could be going wrong.”
Listen to Blaine discuss more about the special and the methods to his madness on the latest episode of IndieWire’s podcast “Turn It On” here.
Above and below, here are two sneak previews from “Beyond Magic,” which airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.