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David Blaine: 'I'd like to go as far as I can'

David Blaine hopes to spend 44 days suspended over the Thames River in a clear plastic box.
David Blaine hopes to spend 44 days suspended over the Thames River in a clear plastic box.

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(CNN) -- Magician David Blaine has been entombed in a block of ice and buried in a coffin for an extended period of time. Now he's in London, England, preparing for his next stunt.

Starting September 5, he will live for more than six weeks in a clear plastic box suspended from a crane over the Thames River.

CNN anchors Thomas Roberts and Heidi Collins talked with Blaine about his next performance.

COLLINS: How did you choose this stunt?

BLAINE: I think of it as kind of [a] performance-art piece, and I think about visually what I like the most, like with this one. I thought it would be amazing to see a human being framed in a glass case, almost like this butterfly that I have in my apartment that someone gave me that was dead, and then a little clear-from-all-sides glass frame, I always thought it was amazing.

So that's kind of where the idea originated. It also had to do with the [Franz] Kafka short story called "The Hunger Artist," about this performer that put himself in a little cage and put himself on display and starved himself. So that kind of combination triggered this idea.

ROBERTS: Why six weeks? Why not one week or two weeks?

BLAINE: The way I thought about it was 44. I've done things where I fasted for a long time or I've withdrawn from food or I've been isolated, but I figured 44 was the absolute furthest that I could push myself before it becomes an actual risk of death. I think I'm at the time period in my life where I could do the most extreme stuff.

I think right now I'm in my physical peak, kind of. So I'd like to go as far as I can with it.

COLLINS: What are all of these stunts all about for you?

BLAINE: I think of them as performance pieces, performance-art almost, creating images that I've always been fascinated by, that I loved. I also do it kind of to strip, I guess, strip everything out, and just figure out what's real in the meanwhile, even though it is a public display, I still play with that stuff.

ROBERTS: We talk a lot about the success of the illusions that you've been able to pull off over the years, really creating yourself to be, you know, worldwide, known as an illusionist and magician. But what do you say to some of the cynics out there that say, Yes, this is just a stunt. It's not real.

BLAINE: I think the only way that they can understand that it is real will be at the end. Like, not week one, week two, week three. I mean, besides, that they can come at all times to see it, and it's lit up in the nighttime, and it's -- it'll be obviously visible all day, and it's in an open space where everybody can watch it.

But besides that, I think toward the end of it, like when we get to the 30-day mark, I think that visually, if I'm even able to stand and move around, I think that it will be obvious that this isn't a trick or an illusion. I think that's a misconception people have, because I don't consider myself a magician or illusionist at all. I consider myself a showman, and I love magic, and I love art, and I love performance, and they're all separate.

You know, the only unification to them is that there's something that triggers an emotion or a reaction, whether it is cynicism or whether it's not, or whether it is, you know, enjoyment or wonder, whatever that is, they all make those reactions come out.

COLLINS: When you work on coming up with an idea for one of these illusions, or, as you say, performances, do you have a team of people that sits around and kind of talks about what you could do? Or do you sort of come up with these ideas on your own and then you find a team of people that can make it happen?

BLAINE: I have a few friends that try to talk me out of all these ideas, but, no, nobody that tries to talk me into them.

ROBERTS: David, we wish you luck with this, and I know we will be looking for you probably on a week-to-week basis to see how it is going.


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