Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell), Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) and Steve Gray (Jim Carrey). Credit: 2013 Warner Bros. Ent.

Jim Carrey as Steve Gray. Costume design by Dayna Pink.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”

Mar. 22, 2013

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” follows big-headed magician Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell), who has become burnt-out and increasingly irrelevant in the Las Vegas magic scene, as he attempts to reunite with his former partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) so the pair can set aside their differences to take on the up-and-coming guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey).

As the arch-nemesis of Wonderstone and Marvelton, Gray “probably wasn’t what daddy wanted,” Carrey said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the eccentric trickster lives in the desert and performs for scorpions and snakes.

Carrey refers to his character as “a mind-tripper with a Christ complex,” and his style in the film is equally mind-tripping, though careful and calculated, according to Costume Designer Dayna Pink.

Pink dressed Carrey in dark, edgy clothes, with perfectly-aged leather, custom t-shirts and lots of accessories, including dozens of rings and bracelets with eyes and bones. She also made a statement with some more unexpected accessories, such as a keychain hanging from Gray’s belt with synthetic hair attached to it that went all the way to the floor. Also hanging from his belt: a plastic baby’s arm that Pink found at a vintage store on Melrose.

Though Gray wears the baby’s arm on his belt throughout the movie, the fate of the toy appendage was not always so certain.

The character of Gray was originally written to be a low-key, soft spoken villain, but Carrey wanted him to have that holier-than-thou Christ complex. At one point early on, Carrey tried on a long blonde wig and decided it would stay, taking Gray’s persona in an entirely new direction.

“We all thought, ‘does that mean that the baby’s arm doesn’t work anymore?’” said Pink, adding that the general consensus was, “not if we put a kabbalah bracelet on it!”

The costume department had grown attached to the baby arm (pun intended), and so it ended up getting a spiritual makeover of its own.

“It’s a little touch, but it’s one of those things that helps tell the story of the character and who he is,” says Pink, noting that comedy lets you take the extra mile and add pieces you wouldn’t in a serious drama. “People wear the same necklace every day and it’s part of their identity. He (Gray) wore the baby’s arm throughout the film and it really became part of him.”

“It’s one of those things you might not even notice, but if you look for it, it’s there. We just thought it was hilarious.”

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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