Director Dan Trachtenberg scored a solid debut with his first feature 10 Cloverfield Lane, and it’s been a bit surprising that he hasn’t signed on to any major features following that film’s success. However, it now looks like he might have a prestige picture on the way as his follow up.
According to Deadline, Trachtenberg is in talks to helm a film based on the life of escape artist Harry Houdini. The script by Noah Oppenheim (who’s currently generating Oscar buzz for his Jackie screenplay) is based on William Kalush and Larry Sloman’s book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero.
Hollywood has been trying to get a Houdini movie in the works for years. We first reported on this one in particular way back in 2011, and it will be interesting to see if Trachtenberg sticks with Oppenheim’s script or goes in a different direction. I’m also curious to see who he casts as Houdini. Back when Dean Parisot was attached to direct, Johnny Depp was going to play the lead role, but now that Trachtenberg is in the driver’s seat, I hope he gets a more interesting actor for the part.
Here’s the synopsis for The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero:
Handcuff King. Escape Artist. International Superstar. Since his death eighty years ago, Harry Houdini’s life has been chronicled in books, in film, and on television. Now, in this groundbreaking biography, renowned magic expert William Kalush and bestselling writer Larry Sloman team up to find the man behind the myth. Drawing from millions of pages of research, they describe in vivid detail the passions that drove Houdini to perform ever-more-dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy, and a pernicious plot to subvert his legacy.
The Secret Life of Houdini traces the arc of the master magician’s life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame — his legacy later threatened by a group of fanatical Spiritualists led by esteemed British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Initiating the reader along the way into the arcane world of professional magic, Kalush and Sloman decode a life based on deception, providing an intimate and riveting portrayal of Houdini, the man and the legend [Amazon].