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The script went through many changes during its years of development, with Daley and Goldstein alone writing approximately fifteen drafts over a three and a half year period. There were four different endings, four different final acts including one where Holloway is revealed as a betrayer. Discussing the script changes which saw the project enter production, producer Chris Bender said: ". . . it was tone, finding the right tone, because it was originally written more broadly where certain magic things were happening that wouldn’t actually be real magic and also, over time, the references that we were making in terms of the new school of magic and the old school of magic were becoming dated. . . Once [Carell] came on board, that’s when things really took off. . . And then finding the right director, too. These kind of comedies scare directors a lot because you’re taking a chance and you’re going for something bold comedy-wise that either could be a big hit or it could really miss. " Scenes of the young Wonderstone being inspired by a video of Rance Holloway, and buying a magic set were based on Daley's own childhood, in which he viewed a similar video of magician Mark Wilson.