Casting Updates on Mimi Leder's Mandrake the Magician
Where has this project been hiding? ComingSoon has announced the official cast for MGM's Mandrake the Magician, based on Lee Falk's comic strip. Early last year, Jonathan Rhys Meyers had apparently been cast as Mandrake, but now the role will go to Hayden Christensen, with Djimon Hounsou joining in as a supporting character. The film is being co-written by Josh Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, JV Hart, and Ian Jeffers. Mimi Leder, of The Peacemaker, Deep Impact, and Pay It Forward most recently, will direct. So does this mean Mandrake will finally move into production sometime later this year?
In the film, Jackson Mandrake (Christensen) is an underground magician and escapologist. Following a daring escape from an SUV dropped out of an plane, he is coerced by the CIA into breaking a deep-cover agent named Xi Shing Lung out of a maximum security jail. Hypnosis, contortion, distraction and technical wizardry all come into play as Mandrake breaks the agent out. But then Mandrake learns that it was all a set-up. Xi is a CIA agent gone bad. He offers Mandrake the chance to join him. When he refuses, he's a marked man. He must escape his would-be-killers and the real CIA who think he is in league with Xi.
That plot description doesn't sound that great, but it's a start, as I'm not looking for anything brilliant with this. It's no secret that I've had a lifelong love for all things magic - I love any movie related to magicians or magic. Therefore I'm inherently excited for this, even with a fairly cheesy and unoriginal plot. But back on topic, Christensen in the lead is also quite a let down; I honestly preferred Rhys Meyers. I'm also wondering if Randy Couture and Criss Angel are also still on board, as they were both cast originally early last year. We'll let you know when they start shooting and any other casting updates as arrive in the next few months.