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film news

Indy writer prepares magic trick on Houdini pic

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summit Entertainment thinks that it has a new movie franchise in the making based on the world famous magician Harry Houdini. The studio that Twilight made bought the screen rights to a Houdini biography and is developing it as a feature, one that the Summit people have aspirations for the same way that Warner Bros. has dreams for upcoming Sherlock Holmes picture. This seems likely the case as the studio has hired screenwriter Jeff Nathanson to write the film's screenplay.

A quick look at Nathanson 's C.V. and we can see that he's well versed in action adventure. Nathanson has writing credits on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the last two Rush Hour films, Catch Me If You Can and -- sorry Jeff, but I have to mention it -- Speed 2: Cruise Control. This is the guy that you want to have if you want to take an option on a Houdini bio to a fully realized tentpole film.

The book that this is coming from was written by William Kalush and Larry Sloman and published back in 2006. It's titled The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero, and if that title doesn't close the book on why Summit sees this as a Sherlock Holmes-esque property, nothing will. Sloman and Kalush's book took the mainstream idea of who Harry Houdini was and turned it on its ear: the writers supposed that he may have been a spy for Britain and had adventures in the court of Czar Nicholas before his family were forcibly removed from pre-Soviet Union Russia. The writers also played up Houdini's interest in spiritualism by suggesting his fatal accident was created by angry mediums wanting to silence his accusations.

Nathanson isn't just writing the adaptation, he's also signed to direct the movie. He only has one other directoral credit, that for a 2004 comedy starring Alec Baldwin and Matthew Broderick called The Last Shot.

-The Hollywood Reporter.
mckracken
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Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

uh... how exactly is THAT a biography of Harry Houdini? i'm dissapointed because, man, I have studied Houdini's escapes and know he never called himself a "magician" he was simply the very best escape artist the world has ever known.