Add another Harry Houdini project to pile. In addition to the adaptation of The Secret Life of Houdini with Gary Ross attached to direct, Columbia’s Houdini, and the Aaron Sorkin/Hugh Jackman original stage musical iteration of the famous magician, Chernin Entertainment is throwing their hat into the ring with an adaptation of The Houdini Box. Per Variety, the studio has acquired the rights to Hugo author Brian Selznick’s YA book, which centers on a young boy who idolizes the magician, meets him by chance, and then receives an invitation to go to Houdini’s house where he learns that the magician has recently died and left the young boy a mysterious box.
It’s obviously early days on this project, and how knows if it’ll ever make it past the development stage, but a Houdini story geared toward kids in the vein of Hugo might actually make for a rather exciting adaptation. The other Houdini projects are still percolating, but should Ross commit to Secret Life of Houdini as his next film, that project has the best chance of coming to the big screen first. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for The Houdini Box.
Tim Burton is circling an adaptation of Ransom Riggs‘ novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. According to Deadline, Burton is in talks with 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertaniment to develop the book into a directing vehicle, and he would set the screenwriter. The story involves a teenager who finds the old orphanage his grandfather used to tell him about, but discovers that its unusual residents may have been more dangerous than he was led to believe. It’s a story that sounds a little like Big Fish until you thrown in the “dangerous kids” aspect. At that point, you have Burton doing another horror movie (unless the kids are just “misunderstood”, in which case, booo).
Hit the jump for a synopsis of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as well as a recap of Burton’s other potential projects. Burton’s next movie, an adaptation of the 60s cult horror TV series Dark Shadows, opens May 11, 2012. He also has a stop-motion feature-length adaptation of his short film Frankenweenie due out on October 5, 2012.
Chernin Entertainment is near a deal to acquire an untitled pitch by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless after a bidding war. Deadline neglects to offer a logline, but describes the story as “a futuristic Jungle Book.” I am not sure how literally we’re meant to take the comparison, or even what the evolutionary Mowgli looks like. Maybe he is raised by space wolves?
Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark of Chernin Entertainment will produce alongside Gore Verbinski and John Krauss of Blind Wink. Sazama and Sharpless are also working with Verbinski on the live-action adaptation of the board game Clue. Their first produced credit is still on the horizon, but in recent years Sazama and Sharpless have been tasked with a Missile Command, Flash Gordon, and Dracula Year Zero. In case it’s relevant, I have included a synopsis of Rudyard Kipling’s book after the jump.
Eric Nazarian and Sergei Bodrov have sold the pitch Blood Brothers to Chernin Entertainment. Channing Tatum is attached to star, and on board as a producer with Nazarian (The Blue Hour) and Bodrov (Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan). Details are scarce, but according to Variety, the movie will be a suspenseful thriller set in Russia.
Tatum is currently in New Orleans filming 21 Jump Street, scheduled for release on March 16, 2012. The actor has four films in the can: Ten Year (December 30), Haywire (January 20, 2012), The Vow (February 10, 2012), and The Son of No One (no release date set). Other projects on the horizon include the Steven Soderbergh collaboration Magic Mike, a Peter Pan re-imagining, and G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes.
Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment have picked up the rights to Howard Blum’s upcoming fact-based novel The Floor of Heaven. The story is set during the 1897 Yukon Gold Rush and follows the intertwining lives of Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo, American marine and gold-discoverer George Carmack, and crime boss Soapy Smith. Reading over the synopsis of the book, the story sounds like a brilliant mix between a western and a crime saga. Blum’s novel doesn’t hit shelves until April 26th, but Deadline reports that the deal for the screen rights was low against high six-figures.
Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel, which I have now added to my infinite must-read list.
Dennis Lehane has previously provided the source material for the critically acclaimed Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone as well as the upcoming Shutter Island and The Given Day. Now Variety reports that he’s finally going to adapt one of his own stories because other writers shouldn’t have all the fun. Lehane will adapt his short story Animal Rescue for Fox 2000 through Peter Chernin’s production company, Chernin Entertainment. The story, via Variety, “revolves around a killing that results from a lost and contested pit bull. The story appeared in the Akashic Books anthology Boston Noir, which Lehane also edited.”
Lehane has been approached in the past to adapt his own work, but this is the first time he’s done it and it will also be his first feature film. His only previous work for the screen were for three episodes of The Wire, so I don’t think there’s much to worry about as far as his screenwriting talent is concerned.