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DreamWorks Nabs J. Michael Straczynski's 'Voices from the Dead'

by
February 9, 2011
Source: THR

Houdini / Doyle

Though you might be more familiar with his work in comic books and TV, writer J. Michael Straczynski jumped to films with The Changeling in 2008. Though he's worked on projects like a remake of Forbidden Planet and an adaptation of World War Z, those projects haven't made much progress over the past couple years. Now THR says DreamWorks has picked up the writer's original screenplay Voices from the Dead, a story that sees real-life friends magician Harry Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle in a fictional story where they team up with a psychic to solve bizarre murders in 1920's New York.

The trade describes the unique relationship between these two historical talents as such:

Houdini and Doyle, who was a leading Spiritualist at the time, met in 1920 and became friends for a while despite long-running arguments about the existence of the supernatural. Doyle included a chapter in his book The Edge of the Unknown that claimed that Houdini had psychic powers, while Houdini often used his acts to debunk fraudulent claims about the spirit world.

The potential for the two to work together as makeshift detectives is quite intriguing. Sounds almost like The Prestige meets Sherlock Holmes. At least it's an original idea, and considering the rest of Straczynski's projects are mere adaptations of established intellectual property and stories, this one sounds the most promising. However, I've said this before and I'll say it again: I want to know what the hell is going on with the film adaptation of J. Michael Straczysnki's graphic novel Rising Stars. In the comic book obsessed film industry, I can't believe this great series hasn't hit the big screen yet. What do you think?

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  • Someguy
    Actually a number of other projects are going ahead: jms wrote the story for the upcoming Thor movie, he wrote the latest draft of Underworld 4, and word is that WWZ is going into production this summer.
    • Anonymous
      is that right? cool. just finished World War Z, quite outstanding. would be hella-challenging to make into a film that didn't last 5 hours. but hey, he wrote all 5 seasons of Babylon 5 in ostensibly one go, and i was one of those who loved Changeling, so colour me interested. on topic: as for this, this sounds like fun. Conan Doyle and Houdini as a double act - what's not to like?
  • skipman
    JMS is also supposed to be working on The Lensmen Books adaption to big screen. Any word on how that is doing?

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