In the upcoming film Sleight, a young street magician named Bo (Jacob Latimore) is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.
Set to release April 28, ComicBook.com created a motion-comic trailer as a prequel to the film.
The motion-comic trailer was based on the prequel digital comic to Sleight is published by Oni Press, in partnership with BH Tilt and WWE Studios. The comic was written by Ryan Parrott and drawn by Rob Guillory, artist and co-creator of Chew.
The Sleight prequel digital comic takes place years prior to the events of the film, as Bo is beginning to take on the responsibility of being his sister's guardian after their parents' deaths. It is during these years that Bo masters his magician's craft. However, in order to make sure his sister is taken care of, Bo also make some questionable friends. The relationships will come back around in Sleight the movie.
Sleight is directed by J.D. Dillard and written by J.D. Dillard and Alex Theurer. The film stars Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill, Storm Reid, Sasheer Zamata and Michael Villar.
Sleight made its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, 2016. On January 28, 2016, WWE Studios and Blumhouse Tilt purchased the distribution rights to the film. Sleight will be released into theaters on April 28.
Who Is Bo?
The central character of Sleight is Bo, a street musician turned criminal. While the movie's director JD Dillard admits it's an overused trope to see a young black kid resort to crime, he wanted to approach the idea from a place of empathy. After all, Bo's struggle can be looked at as coming from a familiar place: how does one balance taking care of loved ones with one's own passions?
Bo's story starts with him in a good place: he's a good student, has passion for magic, and has a good relationship with his little sister. When Bo's parents die and he's left to take care of his sister on his own, Bo turns to a more questionable line of work to keep food on the table and give his sister the stability that she needs. Since Bo's training is in street magic, the makers of Sleight felt it best to keep him away from stereotypical haunts. Instead, Bo works "hiding in plain sight" around Los Angeles's nightclub scene.
Dillard tapped The Maze Runner's Sleight Jacob Latimore to play Bo, citing his versatility to bounce between the different facets of his life. After all, Bo acts as a surrogate parent, a charismatic street magician, and a street-smart criminal at different parts of the film.
What About The Rest Of The Cast?
Joining Latimore in Sleight is a talented mix of up-and-comers and experienced veterans. Bo's boss/nemesis Angelo is played by Dule Hill, best known for his roles in shows like The West Wing and Psych. Although Hill usually plays soft-spoken characters, he joined Sleight's cast specifically for the chance to play a villain for once. And while his character comes off as charming, he reacts poorly to Bo trying to leave his crew and goes after Bo's sister and friends to prove a point.
Rounding out the cast are Storm Reid and Seychelle Gabriel, two younger actresses with a growing number of credits to their names. Reid, who plays Bo's sister, is poised for a breakout hit over the next couple of years as she's the star of Disney's upcoming A Wrinkle in Time adaptation Although she's only 13 years old, Reid is considered one of Hollywood's next big stars, with roles in A Wrinkle in Time, A Happening of Monumental Proportions, and Killing Winston Jones.
Sci-fi fans might already be familiar with Gabriel, who was one of the stars of TNT's Falling Skies. Gabriel also was the voice of Asami in Nickelodeon's Legend of Korra cartoon.
Other actors who appear in the film include Saturday Night Live vet Sasheer Zamata and stand up comedian Cameron Esposito.
Is Cardistry A Real Thing?
Central to Sleight is "cardistry," a growing art of card tricks that uses acrobatic cuts and flashy shuffles to create an extra sense of illusion. The producers of the movie recruited a real life card magician named Fontaine to teach Latimore the basics of cardistry and add a sense of realism to the film. Fontaine directed Latimore via a series of online tutorials and then spent two days on-set for some hands on learning.
Fontaine wasn't the only magician involved in making Sleight. The movie's producers recruited a small army of magicians to help with Sleight's many card tricks. In addition to Fontaine, professional magician Eric Jones assisted by acting as Latimore's "hands" for some of the card scenes and Joel Perry Ward and Ron Saylor as advisors for the films. Of course, the film also had another magician on set: director JD Dillard, who is an amateur magician himself.
While Dillard and Fontaine both claimed that Latimore was a quick learner on set, he was much more modest. "I tried to get as comfortable as I could with the cards, learning from YouTube links and the magicians on set," he said. "And I learned a couple tricks, but didn't truly master anything."
What Else Will I See?
Complex card tricks aren't the only sort of tricks you'll see in Sleight. Although Bo starts off with simple card tricks, he quickly learns how to levitate objects through a mix of high-tech science and illusion. Although the trailers don't explain how Bo can stop bullets or bats (as no magician ever reveals his tricks), it seems that Bo might have a little more up his sleeves than a few cards.
To help pull off all the levitation tricks, Sleight relied on practical special effects, a necessity due to the movie's low budgets. The movie's producers also hinted that there were some other grosser practical effects that also come into play in the movie, especially once Bo gets a handle on his "powers."