magician performs for camera

Short Film: Hackett’s Magic

‘Norvil saunters through a member’s club as he leaves a trail of magic in his wake.’ It’s the brief for the most recent advert I worked on. This time consulting on the Hackett magician commercial and performing as my Norvil character for Hackett London menswear.

Magic is making waves in advertising.  Numerous brands the last few years have incorporated magic in their advertising campaigns to make an impact.  Last year I performed in a film for Canali Menswear. But this year with Hackett I went in an entirely different direction.

Screen test with Norvil

The Hackett creative team have released diverse short films and campaigns recently. Previous films were with sporting and artistic personalities including Royal Ballet dancer Eric Underwood, skydiving cocktail makers, and the actor Toby Stephens.  For their most recent project they moved in a magical direction and invited Norvil & Josephine to feature in their short film. The idea was to lead the viewer through a swinging magical nightclub. It was to feature a variety of Hackett products in the performances. And to make it happen, was intense…

Related articles:
Magic in a commercial for Canali Luxury Menswear.
Another commercial for Britain’s Got Talent.
Magicians in films.

Magic contortion warm up as Josephine does the splits backstage.
Warm up on set, the Josephine way

Diving into the Hackett magician commercial

I launched into a nonstop six weeks of R&D. Some props were made as far afield as Las Vegas. Our deadline: an intense twelve hour day of filming. It was all to capture the magical scenes that we had dreamt up for the storyboard.  The filming day featured Mr. Jeremy Hackett himself trying out some magic in a cameo – see if you can spot him.

I wanted it all to have a big finish that related to the brand.  Hackett’s logo of the two umbrellas in a fencing position persuaded me that for the climax of the film I had to use a hat and umbrella.  The biggest challenge proved to be making it happen on film. I figured out how to stab a card on the tip of a Hackett umbrella with ‘real magic’ instead of special effects.  It’s a modern twist of an old magic effect originally done with a sword.  Josephine started training at every moment she could find so she could spring cards beautifully into the air while Norvil stabs through the shower of cards mid-air.  All the work and sweat paid off in the end and here’s proof we got our money shot…

Enjoy the Hackett magician commercial film, and best wishes for a magical Christmas and New Year to come! – CH

Say hello and drop me a note in the comments below. Thanks for coming along with me and I hope to see you again after a few more turns in the trail.

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