Magic for Muggles!

Hocus Pocus; A Tale of Magnificent Magicians and Their Amazing Feats could be just the book you need to bring forth your inner witch or wizard. Master magician and illustrious illusionist Paul Kieve gives us a tantalising glimpse of his forthcoming almanac…

This is an instruction book as well as a great story. Did that just evolve or was that a deliberate intention on your part?

"The early versions of it were intended to be a history of the great magicians particularly the story of The Great Lafayette and the idea was there would be a section at the end on ‘how-to-do’ some tricks. The idea evolved to allow the amazing stories of these extraordinary characters to be properly told for children to absorb them. The best way, by far to do that, was through a story and it became a natural evolution."

The book opens with a glowing intro from Daniel Radcliffe. How come?

"I was called into the third Potter film, the Prisoner of Azkaban because director Alfonzo Curaon was very keen to work with somebody doing live magic effects. I’m known through my theatre work so I went in, met him and producer David Heyman and hey presto, I became Producer of Physical Magic and eventually worked privately with Dan to develop his skills as a magician. I asked Dan if he would write the intro to Hocus Pocus very early on, which he very graciously did and wrote some very nice things. I have to say, part of the idea of the book came as a result of his lessons because I was always talking to him about the history side and the tricks and as I was doing it I thought, ‘this mightn’t be a bad idea for a book’ and his enthusiasm inspired me to think, ‘Well, kids love this stuff’ and it was all linked in. I don’t think the book would have happened if I hadn’t been teaching Dan because he got me thinking about what a great thing magic is and it reminded me of when I was in my teens and how I got so enthusiastic about it all."

Presumably you’re more Professor Flitwick (Charms) than Professor Binns (deceased) History of Magic?

"Well, most of what I was doing in the movie was on-screen effects like the folding marauders map and I was asked to come up with a lot of technical effects for the kids to do, for example when they had been to Zonko’s joke shop. We literally had magic classes in Hogwarts hall with all of the kids including Emma Watson (Hermione) and the Weasley twins (Oliver and James Phelps). The one kid who couldn’t make it to classes because he was on set all the time was Daniel. He came up and said; ‘I can’t believe you taught everyone else magic apart from me’ so at that point I promised to teach him. He was very keen to learn sleight of hand anyway, totally apart from the film, so we started to do magic sessions and he really, really got hooked and became very good."

"I don’t really like to speculate but if pushed I’d have to say that they both have to die or survive..."

Thomasina Gibson

Hocus Pocus by Paul Kieve is published by Bloomsbury 1 October 2007