Warner Brothers Options ‘Carter Beats the Devil’

Published 5 years ago by

carter beats the devil header Warner Brothers Options Carter Beats the Devil

Yesterday, Film School Rejects learned that Glen David Gold’s critically-acclaimed debut novel Carter Beats the Devil has been optioned by Warner Brothers. The novel, which is a fictionalized account of the life of magician Charles Carter, weaves a number of historical events, including the death of President Warren G. Harding, into a sweeping narrative that is part mystery and part real life examination of magic acts from the turn-of-the-century.

For more information on the plot, here is a snippet of a review of the book from Amazon.com.

Gold’s debut novel opens with real-life magician Charles Carter executing a particularly grisly trick, using President Warren G. Harding as a volunteer. Shortly afterwards, Harding dies mysteriously in his San Francisco hotel room, and Carter is forced to flee the country. Or does he? It’s only the first of many misdirections in a magical performance by Gold. In the course of subsequent pages, Carter finds himself pursued by the most hapless of FBI agents; falls in love with a beautiful, outspoken blind woman; and confronts an old nemesis bent on destroying him. Throw in countless stunning (and historically accurate) illusions, some beautifully rendered period detail, and historical figures like young inventor Philo T. Farnsworth and self-made millionaire Francis “Borax” Smith, and you have old-fashioned entertainment executed with a decidedly modern sensibility.

The first thing I thought of when reading the description for Carter Beats the Devil was Christopher Priest’s excellent novel, The Prestige (which was turned into an even more excellent 2006 film by director Christopher Nolan). Of course, Carter Beats the Devil doesn’t share any of the science-fiction elements of The Prestige, so that’s probably the wrong comparison to make.

In any case, I’m a sucker for good historical fiction, so although I have not personally read Carter Beats the Devil, I could definitely see picking it up. Don’t ask me why, but there’s something about turn-of-the-century magicians that is just fascinating.

Have you read Carter Beats the Devil? If so, what do you think of it possibly being turned into a film? If you haven’t read it, what do you think of the story? Does it sound interesting?

Source: Film School Rejects

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  1. Being “Prestige” like is certainly a factor in putting it on Hollywood's radar. It doesn't hurt that Gold has written for Hollywood before either. :-)

    I wonder how much of a temptation it will be to pare the elements that have made this quirky story a worthy read into something that Hollywood believes the audience will pay to see? Movies like “Ragtime” also kind of intrude into the mind and while “Ragtime” was critically liked, Doctorow's opinion notwithstanding, no studio wants to revisit that B.O. bust.

    In the end it certainly seems interesting enough, if the book reviews are to be believed, to make a watchable film. Reports of how a shooting script comes out and how production goes though, will tell me more about whether I'll be sitting in the theater or just standing in front of a Redbox trying to decide if it's time worthy…

  2. It should definatly be made into a film keeping the edge on fiction and réality§ If you've read the book and seen the prestige you can imagine a high impact magic movie full of thrilling and emotional truth!

  3. This is very very good news! CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL is a great book whether you are a fan of stage magic history, adventurous historical fiction or just a great read. For a film adaptation, it has great potential.

    I was also a fan of “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist” and every damn film or mystery novel with Houdini or a magician as a character.

  4. Well,

    I’ve just finished it, and wondered if it was or had already been adapted. If not, than it should be urgentely done. Ther is a wonderful story there, with a great deal to amaze the audience. Each chapter is breathtaking. It can be scary at times, stressfull, and the end is mostly unexpected although very truthworthy.