Our “Hidden Treats” series continues with a chat with Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom, whose documentary An Honest Liar examines influential – and controversial – magician and activist skeptic James “The Amazing” Randi.
Randi himself was also in attendance at the film’s World Premiere this past spring during the Tribeca Film Fest, and he joined An Honest Liar‘s co-directors/producers for our exclusive interview.
Check back tomorrow for our final treat, Der Samurai, which, like today’s An Honest Liar and yesterday’s Indigenous, we hope won’t stay hidden much longer.
For the last half-century, James “The Amazing” Randi has entertained millions of people around the world with his remarkable feats of magic, escape, and trickery. Schooled in the techniques of deception, Randi saw his beloved magician’s tricks being used by faith healers, fortune tellers, and psychics — not for entertainment, but to steal money from innocent people and destroy lives. Enraged by this, he dedicated his life to exposing those frauds and would do so with the wit and style of the great showman that he is.
A self-described liar, cheat, and charlatan, Randi embarked on a mission for truth by perpetrating a series of unparalleled investigations and elaborate hoaxes. These grand schemes fooled scientists, the media, and a gullible public but always with a deeper goal of demonstrating the importance of evidence and the dangers of magical thinking. In one of these acts, he transformed his partner, Jose Alvarez, into a fake guru named “Carlos” to show how easily people can be fooled. His work exposing faith healers won him the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1987.
But when dealing with a master deceiver, the truth can often be hard to find. A sudden and shocking truth in Randi’s personal life is brought to light when the tale of multiple identities takes an unexpected and potentially devastating turn. And Randi – who spent his life exposing deception – may have perpetrated another grand hoax or become the victim of a very personal one.
An Honest Liar is a film about deception, told through Randi’s life and acts using never-before-seen historical footage and many of the original people involved. The film also follows Randi and his partner through this latest dramatic – and potentially devastating – twist in their lives.
With appearances by Adam Savage, Penn & Teller, Bill Nye, Alice Cooper, and others, An Honest Liar is an exciting and thought-provoking film: part detective story, part biography, and a bit of a magic act itself.