Phil Lord and Chris Miller Slated to Adapt 'Carter Beats the Devil' Now
For over a decade now Hollywood has been trying to get an adaptation of the 2001 historical mystery novel Carter Beats the Devil off the ground, but to no avail. Paramount picked up the book in 2002 and even had Tom Cruise attached to star in the story of a real-life stage magician in the 1920's who performs a trick involving then-President Warren G. Harding. When the president is later found dead, Carter is forced to go on the run and clear his name. Now Heat Vision reports Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who are also working on the LEGO movie) are lined up to be at the helm. Read on!
Here's a more detailed official plot synopsis:
Set against the backdrop of early 20th-century San Francisco during the heyday of such legendary illusionists and escape artists as Harry Houdini, this thoroughly entertaining debut by an amateur magician with an M.F.A. in creative writing is a fanciful pastiche of history, fantasy and romance. The plot turns around the questionable circumstances surrounding scandal-beleaguered President Warren Harding's unexpected death on August 2, 1923, shortly after appearing on stage with the magician Carter the Great in San Francisco. Trapped without adults during the historic San Francisco blizzard of 1897, nine-year-old Charlie Carter discovers a book on magic in his father's library and entertains his brother with coin and card tricks. By the time he is 17, at the suggestion of famous "20-Mule Team" millionaire Borax Smith, Carter finds a booking with a seedy vaudeville troupe during summer vacation. Following graduation, he procures a more reputable booking and elects to postpone Yale for a year. At the end of his second tour, he is hooked and never returns to academia.
If there's one thing I love about stories like this, it's when they tie in to real life history, and this novel is no exception as it also includes figures like Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of the television) as well as Harry Houdini (who has his own spy thriller adaptation on the way) and the Marx Brothers. Warner Bros. is the studio behind the project now (they picked up the property in 2010) and they're hoping for another Sherlock Holmes type of tentpole. With Lord and Miller behind the camera, this might finally happen since the duo did something truly original and fantastic with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, not to mention blending action and comedy perfectly with 21 Jump Street earlier this year. Count me in.