‘The Amazing Johnathan Documentary’ Captures the Vegas Icon’s Farewell Tour
When director Ben Berman set out to film magician and comedian the Amazing Johnathan, he intended to capture the story of a man afflicted with a heart condition confronting mortality with humor.
“I’ve never been more pleased to have my plans smashed to pieces,” says the filmmaker (above, pushing Johnathan).
Berman follows the Las Vegas staple — aka John Edward Szeles — on his farewell tour, capturing Johnathan’s drug use and mischievousness.
Soon, however, Berman is confronted with several other film crews, all competing for access to Johnathan in order to make their own documentaries. Berman questions if the prankster is being honest about being ill — and whether Johnathan hired the other crews.
Berman eventually turns the camera on himself, asking why he wanted to make this film in the first place. “I gravitate toward darker themes, and death is one,” he says. “The unexpected items that we ultimately crafted the film around are much more dynamic than the smaller project I set out to make.”
The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, Premiere, Friday, August 16, Hulu