Illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine's 90-minute special "Real or Magic," which aired earlier this week, stunned and amazed notable figures like former president George W. Bush and big-time celebrities, including Will Smith and Harrison Ford, who all participated in the acts.
"For this special, I wanted to focus only on the magic and the people, so for the first time in over a decade, I concentrated just on doing simple things that could be done anywhere to capture the reactions that I fell in love with," Blaine previously told EW in preparation for the show.
Blaine, known for extreme endurance stunts such as being buried alive for a week, being encased inside a block of ice for three days and nights, surviving inside a transparent box for 44 days filled with nothing but water, and breaking world records such as the longest time for holding one's breath, performed a variety of acts with a host of celebrities in the special that aired on Tuesday night.
The illusionist's acts included a number of different card tricks, which he performed on Bush, comedian Jon Stewart, professor Stephen Hawkins, and actor Harrison Ford. He also pierced his body with sharp objects such as an icepick without any evident pain or blood, which he performed before Smith and his family and other stars like "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. Blaine even went to receive an x-ray and prove that the icepick did indeed go through his hand – something which the doctor who examined him was unable to explain either.
A number of other acts amazed street crowds and late-night talk show hosts, such as Jimmy Kimmel, who witnessed Blaine drink large amounts of water followed by a glass of kerosene, which he then spat out to set a trash bin on fire. He put it out with the same water he had just consumed.
"It was amazing to have the chance to perform magic for my heroes, people I respect and admire. I definitely owe a lot of favors for the rest of my life," Blaine said about performing in front of Hawkins and director Woody Allen, to whom he showed the water spitting act.
"It was a very small crew," Blaine said about the filming process. "It was me and the director, Matthew Akers, who was also the camera guy, lugging equipment into people's homes. We tried our best to make everything feel as natural in the environment as possible."