'Hanna' Helmer Joe Wright in Talks to Direct the 'Houdini' Biopic Now
Hollywood is about to see an onslaught of magician films over the next few years, but only one of them is a straight biopic about the life of the world's most famous escape artist, Harry Houdini. The project has been in the works for years, and The Hunger Games director Gary Ross was originally in talks to make it his next project after he passed on Catching Fire. But now 24 Frames reports that Hanna and Anna Karenina director Joe Wright is in discussions to direct Houdini, based on the popular book that suggested the magician lived a secret life as a British spy and portrays him as "Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes."
With Burt Wonderstone, Carter Beats the Devil, and the thief/magician action heist film Now You See Me all coming up in 2013, this is starting to feel like an oversized version of 2006, when The Illusionist and The Prestige came out in the same year and covered similar territory. Wright will undoubtedly bring a dazzling visual style to this biopic, as he's known for, but will the story be as enthralling as fans hope? It might be more appropriate to see him make J. Michael Straczynski's Voices from the Dead, which sees a fictionalized Houdini teaming up with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to solve bizarre murders in 1920s New York.
It's also interesting to note that the famed illusionist Harry Houdini is heading to Broadway soon as well, with some A-list talent involved: Aaron Sorkin and Hugh Jackman are collaborating on that version, which is doubly interesting considering Jackman's involvement in Chris Nolan's magician film The Prestige. Might the actor be interested in portraying the escape artist both on stage for Sorkin and on screen for Wright? Time will tell, but we're hoping this one wiggles out of the development hell straight jacket and makes it to the big screen sooner rather than later. We'll keep you updated on any other Houdini-related news.