HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with the stars of ABC’s hottest new show ‘Deception,’ Jack Cutmore-Scott and Ilfenesh Hadera, about season 1 ahead of the March 11 premiere. Hint: magic is in the air!
Deception follows superstar magician Cameron Black, whose career has recently been ruined by scandal. He finds that the FBI is the only place for him to continue to practice his art of deception, influences, and illusion. He teams up with Kay to help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminals. Cameron and Kay are at the center of the series, and stars Jack Cutmore-Scott and Ilfenesh Hadera revealed to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that Kay takes some time to embrace Cameron and his magical ways.
“When we start off in the first few episodes, she’s pretty skeptical,” Ilfenesh told HollywoodLife. “And it’s kind of her job to be, so there’s a lot of eye-rolling and brow-furrowing, which is to be expected. But they do really develop a nice relationship and do build this trust between them.” Jack added, “It’s a bumpy road. I mean, it is on both sides because we both have our own agendas. You know the world of magic is very secretive, very shrouded in mystery, and obviously the FBI, Kay is used to dealing with people who are trying to deceive her.”
To play Cameron, Jack had to actually learn magic! “Well, luckily I had the help of two amazing magicians, David Kwong and Francis Menotti, who work on the show every day, and they’ve been my teachers and guides through all of it. So I didn’t have much knowledge at all before I came into it, and now I can, hopefully at least, pass for somebody who knows what they’re doing. That’s the idea.” As for Ilfenesh, she had to train as well to be an FBI agent! “I had the FBI version of a David and a Francis, so a woman named Veronica was on board before the pilot started just to help me keep things real, to answer any questions I had about what it was like to be with the bureau for thirty years, what it was like to be a woman with the bureau for thirty years. And then we took a great tour, a pretty full tour of the New York Office downtown. I met some of those guys, just to see what it was like being in her shoes. I mean no amount of time hanging around that could be enough to be in the mind of an FBI agent. But then we had weapons training, which I’d never had before. So as in depth as you could be, much like Jack’s side of things.”
Ilfenesh loves playing such a strong female character on television and one in a position of power. “Kay, she’s accomplished,” Ilfenesh continued. “She’s a strong woman. She is in charge, and she doesn’t shrink herself to make the people around her, many of whom are men, feel comfortable with her position of power. And I think that’s a really nice thing about Kay. She doesn’t dwarf herself, which is funny coming from me, because I’m six feet tall [laughs], and I often put my head down in front of myself when I walk. But I think it’s nice to have that as a representation of a strong woman on television for young girls to see that you can be unapologetically a boss.”
Jack and Ilfenesh teased that each episode of the first season is “built around a central precept, or tenant of magic. Episode two, for example, is about forced perspective, so the idea that by manipulating angles, you can present things that are not real, that look magical when they’re not. So each of the crimes, or the way in which we capture the criminal, is based in a tenant of magic.” Ilfenesh added, “You see magic used in two different ways really. And it’s getting into the minds of the criminals and understanding how they pull these elaborate heists off. But also, using our own magic and our own deceptions to capture them.”
Deception is unlike any crime-solving show on television, and it’s going to be one fun ride. The series premieres March 11 at 10 p.m. on ABC.