‘Houdini’ Trailer: Adrien Brody is Magic

Published 9 months ago by

Before we came to learn that the words “amazing” and “genius” were born to be applied to internet videos of cats wielding lightsabers, there was Harry Houdini, the world’s greatest showman, illusionist and escape artist. Born in 1874, Houdini (who was born Ehrich Weiss) captivated audiences all over the world with his act, daring death to take a swipe at him while he performed escapes like the Giant Milk Can Escape and the Upside Down Water Torture Cell.

Off the stage, Houdini nurtured a fascination with aviation, dabbled in the early days of film and proved himself to be both a media darling and an enemy to spiritualists until his death in 1926. All of this adds up to an incredibly interesting life that has been brought to the screen on numerous occasions over the years, most recently in the 1997 TV movie and the 2007 film Death Defying Acts starring Guy Pearce.

And now The History Channel is going to air a two-part miniseries in September simply titled Houdini. As you can probably see from the above trailer, it looks like the kind of awards-bait movie that is usually reserved for the big screen or pay cable.

adrien brody as houdini reporters Houdini Trailer: Adrien Brody is Magic

Starring Oscar winner Adrien Brody as Houdini and Kristen Connolly (Cabin in the Woods, House of Cards) as his wife Bess, Houdini seems to tap into into Harry Houdini’s passion (thanks in large part to Brody, who looks like he’s in top-form), the man’s extensive crusade against those who said that they could talk to the dead and, what looks like, an obsession with topping himself while growing his legend and testing his limitations.

It also seems like the story may peer beyond Houdini’s life, which makes me wonder if director Uli Edel and writer Nicholas Meyer will delve extensively into the story of the seances that Harry asked Bess to hold after his death (perhaps in an effort to prove that if the world’s greatest escape artist couldn’t break free from the chains of the afterlife, then it’s no possible).

Here’s the synopsis for Houdini:

Before David Blaine and David Copperfield, there was one man whose name was synonymous with being the master of illusion and escape – Harry Houdini. ‘Houdini’ follows the man behind the magic as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from U.S. presidents to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Grigori Rasputin. The drama will chronicle the life of a man who can defy death through his stunts, his visions and his mastery of illusion.

With all that in mind, it makes one wonder if two nights will be enough to delve as deeply into Houdini’s life as might be required to be considered a definitive look back at the man.

Then again, The History Channel has worked hard to grow its original programming reputation and they clearly put a lot of resources and care into getting this right, so hopefully Houdini will shock and amaze.

Houdini will air in two parts on September 1st and 2nd @9pm on The History Channel.

Source: SlashFilm


Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. It really looks so good. I am really pumped for it, unfortunately i wont be able to watch on History channel when it airs, but i am so excited for it.

    • I do like where The History Channel is going with their original programming.
      Smart to get this on the air before the networks unleash their new fall shows later in September. I’ll be watching.

      • History Channel is one of the better channels on overall. Ever see their mini-series on The Hatfields and The McCoys? Excellent! I bought it on DVD, it was that good. Yes, I will not try to disappear or escape from the Houdini show, either…looks like a good watcher!

    • I won’t be able to watch either, I canceled the documentary channels on my Sky+ package to save a little money so I’m gonna have to watch online when part two’s aired in the US.

      Looks good though. I still remember that brilliant biopic about Robin Williams that charted his career from stand up to just after Popeye wrapped. No idea who played Robin in that but damn, he was like a clone or something. Really great acting, totally authentic.

      I assume Brody will bring the usual gravitas to this role.

  2. I look forward to this, Adrien Brody is a fine actor (although he obviously looks nothing like Houdini, I recall Houdini was about 5.6″ tall), I recommend the Ruth Brandon book.

    • That’s the first thing I thought of also when I saw he was playing the part. He resembles Houdini in the face, but probably over 6′ tall. None the less a much closer read than Tony Curtis was. He looked nothing like Houdini.

      I’m glad the History channel is doing this so it’ll be accurate. I read a biography about him when I was a kid because I thought he was so interesting. Hopefully this piece will use other material that’s not been highlighted in the other attempts. It should be good

  3. I just remembered something from that book after seeing the trailer. He not only was the first magician to work with an elephant, but in some venues early on there were many in the audience that never heard or saw pictures of an elephant and ran out of theaters terrified of this monster that suddenly appeared on stage. Just imagine if you had no idea what this huge beast was in times where superstition was a way of life…..That would be scary

  4. Not riding in like the trailer….I think he had it suddenly appear in an empty box after dropping a sheet. Not positive how, but it did suddenly appear and terrified some people

  5. Am I the only person who thinks Kristen Connolley looks a LOT like Ellie Kemper?

  6. Hey, DC! We need a Mister Miracle movie now:)

  7. I thought the article was titled “Adrian’s Body is Magic”…

  8. Absolutely loved the movie! Adrian Brody was fantastic, as was the entire cast! Great job!