I.B.M. Member Profile

Of The Prestige

About Christopher Priest

 I wrote the novel The Prestige, filmed in 2006 for Warner Bros by Christopher Nolan. The film starred Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johannson, Michael Caine and David Bowie (in his final film role). The novel and the film tell the same story in general, although the novel has a present-day level which was left out of the film. Also, the novel has a better ending -- but you wouldn't expect me to say anything else. I think the movie is pretty good, though, and has some film legerdemain of its own. (The first words you hear are: "Are you watching closely?" The screen instantly goes black.)

Although I have loved magic all my life, I have no pretensions about being a magician -- a profession I treat with the utmost seriousness and respect. I am always dazzled by magic, but I never want to find out the secret. I just enjoy watching the skill and showmanship.

The Prestige was about this, incidentally. It tells the story of two stage illusionists in the 19th century. They both perform the same illusion, but neither of them knows how the other one does it (but knows his own method is inimitable). One is a plodding journeyman magician, the other has not much magical intuition but he is a brilliant performer. Both of them closely guard their secrets. The curiosity leads to rivalry, and worse.

I am currently planning, working on, drafting a new novel in which magic plays a central role. This time it is not about stage illusions -- something closer up. I'm certain I don't have to spell it out in this company. The Prestige was largely set in the UK -- the new book (not a sequel) is set in France, where performance magic has its own traditions and history. I write slowly -- it won't be out for quite a while.

I was born in the UK, have lived there all my life. I have so far published fifteen novels, all of which contain what I think of as literary misdirection. 

Chris Priest

(writing this in the early weeks of 2018)