Secrets behind David Copperfield illusion revealed to public due to lawsuit

April 18, 2018

A lawsuit against David Copperfield has forced the revelation of specific details behind one of his illusions to the public, according to a story by Associated Press via The Hollywood Reporter.

The suit is a result of an accident which allegedly occurred back during a Copperfield performance in 2013. Gavin Cox was chosen at random to participate in the closing illusion of the night, where Copperfield causes a group of audience members disappear from the stage. According to Cox, he was injured when he was “was hurried with no guidance or instruction through a dark area under construction with cement dust and debris, causing him to slip and fall.” He is currently seeking unspecified damages as a result.

We’d previously reported that Cox’s trial against Copperfield was finally headed to court after several years of delays, and that the illusionist might be required to reveal the secret behind this trick to the public. Efforts by Copperfield’s lawyers to close proceedings to the public in order to “protect performance secrets” have unfortunately failed, according to the report, and that “[m]agicians, media members and lawyers were disqualified to protect the secrecy of the trick that [friend and producer Chris] Kenner estimated Copperfield performed tens of thousands of times over 20 years.” 

The AP report shared some specifics on how the illusion was performed, as revealed during public testimony: 

Practiced stagehands with flashlights hurried randomly chosen participants through dark curtains, down unfamiliar passageways, around corners, outdoors, indoors and through an MGM Grand resort kitchen in time to re-enter the back of the theater for their “reappearance” during the show finale, Kenner testified.  

Kenner also confirmed to Cox’s attorney Benedict Morelli that participants weren’t told what to expect before they began running their route. 

MGM Grand Hotel attorney Jerry Popovich told jurors that Copperfield had walked through the area minutes before, and would have reported to stagehands if there were any other obstacles or expected dangers on the route. Popovich also stated that Copperfield no longer uses this illusion to close the show.

The trial is still underway, with Copperfield likely to take the stand as early as this afternoon. We will continue to update this story as new details emerge.