Eric Warren Singer, the writer best known for the acclaimed film American Hustle, will tackle the third installment in the Now You See Me franchise for Lionsgate, which is being described as a "fresh take" on the series. To date, the first two Now You See Me movies have brought in almost $700 million at the global box office -- not bad considering that they aren't based on an existing property, and are inexpensive relative to a lot of other blockbuster film series. The series centers on an Ocean's 11-style group of mastermind criminals...with the twist that Now You See Me's (anti-)heroes use sleight of hand and stage magic.
The existing films included actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Daniel Radcliffe, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman. At this point there's no casting in place for the third installment and that "fresh take" verbage may indicate they aren't bringing back most or all of the originals, although initial reports suggest that it leaves the door open.
"Eric has always been fascinated with the fine art of deception and illusion in all of its forms and he came to us with a great story that takes the mythology of Now You See Me and pushes The Four Horsemen to a whole new level with our key returning cast and new characters," said Nathan Kahane, president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement. "The Now You See Me franchise has been built on keeping the audience surprised and guessing. Any great magician knows, you can't keep doing the same tricks. And Eric and his team of illusionists have something special up their sleeve for this new film."
Jonathan Bayme and Theory 11 will serve as a magic consultant to the filmmakers, with Secret Hideout's Bobby Cohen and Alex Kurtzman producing alongside Lionsgate's Meredith Wieck and Aaron Edmonds. Kurtzman, who is currently working on Star Trek projects for CBS All Access (most notably Picard, which will lose season one showrunner Michael Chabon next year), was a producer on the first two Now You See Me movies.
Since American Hustle, Singer has been in demand. He wrote the 2017 Josh Brolin/Miles Teller movie Only the Brave as well as the upcoming sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which represents Tom Cruise's first return to that defining role since the original film was released in 1986.