There have been a number of movies based on the intriguing life of illusionist, magician and escapologist Harry Houdini, who has been portrayed on screen by a long list of actors including Tony Curtis and Guy Pearce. Around 100 years ago Houdini was at the height of his popularity, and now he’s making a comeback (of sorts) in Sony Pictures’ upcoming movie Houdini.
To clear up any confusions, this Houdini has nothing to do with the History Channel miniseries being planned, with Adrien Brody set to star in the lead role. It is also a separate endeavor from Summit Entertainment’s Houdini, scripted by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner) with Dean Parisot (RED 2) in line to direct. Sony’s film isn’t connected to the upcoming Houdini broadway show either. For some reason, everyone’s got a fever for Houdini right now.
That includes Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis who, according to Deadline, has been tapped to work on a new draft of Sony’s Houdini movie. At this early stage there’s no indication as to who will play the famous escapologist and the project doesn’t yet have a director attached, but Landis’ involvement is certainly a positive sign.
On a positive note, at least each of the Houdini projects seems to be radically different. The History Channel’s effort will likely be a more straightforward biopic, whereas Summit’s picture will be a heavily embellished action adventure with Houdini as a swaggering spy character who blends the genius of Sherlock Holmes with the spirit of Indiana Jones. There’s little information about Sony’s film, aside from the fact that it will have “an H.P. Lovecraft influence.”
Lovecraft and Houdini collaborated on the short story “Under the Pyramids,” which Houdini claimed was a true recollection of an incident in which he found himself trapped underneath a temple in Cairo, surrounded by mummies who are worshipping a terrifying deity. An adaptation of “Under the Pyramids” might make for a fun movie – they could have Brendan Fraser play Houdini.
We’ll keep you updated on all Houdini-related film and TV projects as they develop.