"That would have been a lost cause for me," Firth said at a recent New York press conference to promote writer-director Woody Allen's latest comedy.
"I think genuine, closeup magic is an art form that is very, very, very hard to achieve and I noticed that the script had very wisely not provided that challenge. If you try to use trick photography of any kind, it is pointless. The whole point of that stuff is... we all know what you can do with a camera. I might as well have done a crash course in being a brilliant concert pianist or something. You can't do it. To achieve it, you are practicing every waking moment of your day."
The Oscar-winning actor, who plays a 1920s-era stage illusionist in the film, also recalled how Allen -- a lifelong magic aficionado -- attempted to teach him the most rudimentary of card tricks, all to no avail.
"We did have a moment where I was asked to attempt the simplest possible card trick and Woody very patiently... It's the closest I feel we came to seeing Woody's patience threshold. He was endlessly patient. There was only a little sigh at my eighth attempt at doing this very simple thing with one card, which he could do brilliantly and I simply couldn't. I dropped it and it didn't make the final cut [of the movie.] With the set piece, the stage magic, it is much easier to cheat. I read up on it. I'm endlessly fascinated with it. It's a gift I'd love to have."