Fresh off the huge success of their massively viewed adaptations The Bible and Hatfields & McCoys, History is currently working on a miniseries project tentatively called Houdini, with Adrien Brody (The Pianist) signed on to play the famous magician and performer. Gerald Abrams (Modern Marvels), father of the beloved J.J. Abrams, is on board to produce the series. Although not much has been announced about the show, EW says it will depict Houdini’s rags-to-riches story as a magic man and stunt performer at the turn of the 20th century. Houdini’s release date is still TBA. Hit the jump for more.
Long before glorified street performers David Blaine played with electricity or Criss Angel freaked your mind, there was the one and only Harry Houdini. For a life (and death) as theatrical and dramatic as Houdini’s was, with a career that’s a good old-fashioned, American success story, it’s surprising that there aren’t more biopics about the escape artist. Director Joe Wright (Anna Karenina) may remedy that. Wright is reportedly in talks with Lionsgate about helming Houdini, a picture based on the biography, The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. Hit the jump for more.
It came as quite a shock when Gary Ross, who directed and shepherded the adaptation of The Hunger Games into a massively successful film that pleased both fans and critics, declined to direct the follow-up, Catching Fire. Ross wasn’t keen on the idea of rushing pre-production in order to meet an August production start-date, so he politely bowed out of the series. Ross takes his sweet time when choosing directorial projects (his only films as director are Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, and Pleasantville), but he’s likely been inundated with offers following the smashing success of the dystopian sci-fi adaptation.
Now it appears that Ross has settled on one of his post-Hunger Games projects, and it happens to be an adventure film about the secret life of Harry Houdini. Hit the jump for more.
We usually don’t cover Broadway news, but when you have Tony-winner Hugh Jackman and Oscar-and-Emmy-winner Aaron Sorkin teaming up for an original musical, it’s worth attention. Back in November 2010, we reported that Jackman was attached to the musical biopic Houdini and Sorkin was writing the book (the plot and dialogue of a musical). The production has now sent out a press release announcing that the show will premiere in 2013/2014. Jackman recently finished his two month run on Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway, which played to sold-out audiences. He’s also about to begin filming on the movie musical adaptation of Les Miserables.
Hit the jump for more on the production and Sorkin’s approach to Harry Houdini‘s story.
Columbia has hired scribe Scott Frank (Minority Report) to pen its Harry Houdini-centered drama, cleverly titled Houdini. Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) has been attached to helm the project since March and Heat Vision confirms that he and Frank will team up to bring a “grounded” vision of the legendary escape artist. Per the report, Houdini will feature the namesake attempting to expose a spiritualist as a fraud only to get caught up in what appears to be a “tragic scam.”
Similar to the rat race that Snow White is currently competing in (which Brendan so mathematically details here), Houdini also has several tales currently in development. In addition to Columbia’s Houdini, DreamWorks acquired the rights to J. Michael Straczynski’s (creator of Babylon 5 and personal favorite comic series Rising Stars) Houdini/Sir Arthur Conan Doyle script Voices from the Dead back in February. Not long after that news, Summit hired Noah Oppenheim to pen an adaptation of William Kalush’s book The Secret Life of Houdini. For better or worse, it doesn’t look as if moviegoers should have any shortage of Houdini content coming their way over the next few years.
In keeping with Hollywood’s tradition of fixating on one subject of interest for multiple competing projects, Harry Houdini seems to be the next flavor of the week. Sony is making moves on its long-gestating Houdini project with Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) in talks to direct the film. Variety reports that Jimmy Miller (The Other Guys) will produce. The studio is looking to revamp the story while maintaining its period setting.
DreamWorks recently acquired the rights to Michael Straczynski’s Voices from the Dead, which pits Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle as detectives solving mysteries in 1920’s New York. Additionally, last month Summit tapped Noah Oppenheim to adapt William Kalush’s book The Secret Life of Houdini into a feature film. That flick portrays Houdini as a superhero. Which of these projects, if any, will get off the ground first? I guess the race is on.