Frequently Asked Questions
1) Lance Burton you spent two decades as a real life Las Vegas headliner. Is this film an autobiography?
LANCE: No, absolutely not. Billy Topit is a fictional character, as are all the characters in the movie. The one thing Billy and I share in common is this, we both love magic, and we both love Las Vegas. I guess that is two things actually.
2) Is this your first time as a feature film Director?
3) Did you write the screenplay?
LANCE: Yes, along with my writing partner Michael Goudeau. We also share Executive Producer credits as well as both appearing on screen.
4) Can you tell us more about Michael Goudeau?
LANCE: For 19 years Michael was the “Guest Star” in my live stage show doing a comedy juggling act. For many years he was the Head Writer and Executive Producer on Penn and Teller’s Showtime series. (He won an Emmy in that job.) He is also one of my best friends.
5) How did this film come to be?
LANCE: When I was a kid I saw Bill Bixby in a TV series called The Magician. I loved that show. Through the years there have been many films and TV shows with magician characters, and some were quite good. I just felt that I could bring something to the table that was genuine. Something based in reality. I didn’t want to do the stereotypical mysterious magician character. That’s why Billy Topit is a struggling magician, even though he is very skilled.
6) So the character Billy Topit is not successful?
LANCE: No, not as far as the world is concerned, or at least the world as defined by Las Vegas. He is stuck in that entry-level job of performing at children’s birthday parties. Which by the way, is where every magician starts. I started performing at birthday parties when I was 10 years old.
7) How do you think other Magicians will react to this film?
LANCE: I hope they will be excited about it and love it. There are some things in the film that are just for them, inside jokes. Also there are other magicians who appear in the film in cameo roles. Criss Angel, Jeff McBride, Mac King, Fielding West, they all make appearances. Johnny Thompson and Rory Johnston are both well known magic friends of mine who have larger roles, and they are both terrific actors. I even talked my buddy Louie Anderson into making an appearance, and he is hilarious!
8) Who is your target audience?
LANCE: In my stage show our audience was very diverse. Every night we had adults, children, grandparents, Americans, Asians, Europeans, etc. We had people from South America, Mexico, loads of Japanese people. In the past few years I noticed lots of Chinese tourists, which we didn’t have 15 years ago. So what I am saying is, I think the target audience for this film is the same. It is a ‘family film’ that I hope will connect with people from all parts of the world.
9) What is the status of your live show?
LANCE: I am retired.
10) No more live shows in your future?
LANCE: I did 15,000 shows in my career. That’s enough!
11) We miss having you on stage for real every night!
LANCE: Well, that makes one of us!