Santino Marella & Criss Angel
Former Raw guest host and world-renowned mystifier Criss Angel returns to A&E Aug. 4 with the season six premiere of Criss Angel: Mindfreak. The hit series stretches the boundaries of reality and belief. WWE Superstar Santino Marella recently interviewed the illusionist about the upcoming season.
SANTINO MARELLA: What can fans expect from this season of Criss Angel: Mindfreak that will make them want to rock themselves to sleep at night?
CRISS ANGEL: In this new season of Mindfreak, we really do push things to a new level. I really wanted to do things that other magicians have never attempted or even thought of, never mind succeeded at. Just a few examples are attempting to jump a hybrid racing car/motorcycle over part of the Grand Canyon with a crazy illusion twist at the end; attempting to walk up the entire side of the Luxor without any safety equipment at all in full view of the public; levitating more than 100 feet above the ground (and then vanishing); escaping from a locked crate hanging more than 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor; and attempting a world record by making 100 people vanish -- instantly -- in front of hundreds of spectators. Of course, in addition to the crazy, death-defying demonstrations, I'll also be trying to blow your minds with my most amazing Mindfreaks ever.
SANTINO: What gives you the greater rush, entertaining millions of fans or actually being able to pull off an incredibly dangerous stunt?
CRISS: I love performing for my fans. But the real reason I attempt these incredibly dangerous demonstrations is to try to push my own envelope -- to constantly try to raise the bar and prove to myself that when you combine the mind, body and spirit, anything is possible. If during that process I am able to entertain and motivate others, then that is an incredible benefit and blessing.
SANTINO: During one of those stunts, you were injured jumping from a moving car. Tell Santino about injuries and the perils of what you do.
CRISS: Yes, I remember that very vividly. The truth is that I have been injured many times during my career. And for better or worse, those injuries have often been captured during the filming of Mindfreak. One of the worst experiences was when I blew out my eardrum trying to -- and failing to -- escape from a locked cage underwater at the Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Things went horribly wrong and for a moment, I vowed to never attempt an underwater escape again. But despite that experience, this season I felt the need to address my fear and attempt my most dangerous underwater escape ever when I'll get chained and manacled and feet buried in cement and then lowered into Lake Havasu in front of more than 10,000 fans. I know … I'm crazy.
SANTINO: In the new season of Mindfreak you push your physical feats to a new level. What do your friends and family think?
CRISS: Through it all, my family has been amazingly supportive. Yeah, they often think I am out of my mind and at times ask me to consider slowing down a bit. And there have been times that I don't want my mom present at a demonstration because of all the stress it causes her. But ultimately, once they know I have committed to try something, they are always there to help and support me anyway possible.
SANTINO: Now, as a proud Italian man, I have a very important question: Which do you prefer, red sauce or white? Answer carefully.
CRISS: LOL -- I LOVE a good marinara sauce!
SANTINO: Speaking of food, Santino once made an entire box of cannoli disappear in one sitting, what do you consider your greatest illusion?
CRISS: If I ate that many cannolis I'd never be able to levitate more than a couple inches off the ground! Seriously, I don't really have a "favorite" illusion. They all are special to me for different reasons. They each require such enormous focus and dedication that whatever I am performing at the moment becomes the most important demonstration in the world to me. For example, when I am attempting to jump over the Grand Canyon on our premiere Aug. 4, at that moment, that will be the most important demonstration of my career to me.
SANTINO: Besides our good looks, we also share a love of music. When you were younger, you fronted a rock band -- can fans still hope for a CD?
CRISS: I actually had a number of bands. I was always inspired by music and still am. You can find my CDs at CrissAngel.com.
SANTINO: As a former guest host of Raw, can you share with Santino the similarities and differences between a WWE live show and your stage show? (PHOTOS | WATCH | SANTINO & CRISS ON RAW)
CRISS: I loved guest hosting RAW!! There are far more similarities than differences between a WWE live show and my stage show, Believe, at the Luxor. Ultimately, they are both shows that involve enormous complexities, expense and large numbers of people behind the scenes all trying to achieve the same result -- entertain and move an audience. And probably the greatest similarity is we are both attempting some very difficult stunts live -- and because it's live, you only get one chance to get it right. I think that tension is what adds to the drama of a great performance.
SANTINO: To finish opponents, Santino employs a move called The Cobra. If Criss Angel were a WWE Superstar, what would be his finishing move?
CRISS: If I were a WWE Superstar, I'm sure my finishing move would be called "The Mindfreak." I may have to try it on Santino someday.
SANTINO: Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to share with Santino's Universe?
CRISS: In addition to this new season of Mindfreak and my live show at the Luxor, I've been very active with a bunch of new projects. This fall I am releasing a new magic kit that I spent almost two years designing. It will be available in stores throughout the country. I've also partnered with Affliction to create a new clothing line called MF13. And I'm also working on several new TV and film projects as well as many other projects. Thanks, Santino!
Tune in to the season six premiere of Criss Angel: Mindfreak Aug. 4 at 10/9 CT on A&E.