William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s book “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero” has taken an interesting journey through Hollywood. Gary Ross, Joe Wright and Dean Parisot have each flirted with this adaptation (the latter even had Johnny Depp attached to star), but none had quite the right amount of magic to make it to the big screen. Could a rising filmmaker be the one to break the spell?
Deadline reports that “10 Cloverfield Lane” helmer Dan Trachtenberg is in talks to direct the project over at Lionsgate. Noah Oppenheim (“Jackie,” “Allegiant,” “The Maze Runner“) has penned a script based on the book that offers the theory that Harry Houdini was a spy for Britain, was involved with the Secret Service and police organizations, and was asked to be an adviser to Czar Nicholas II’s court in pre-revolutionary Russia. All this will be spun in what has long been described as an ‘Indiana Jones‘ style adventure. Here’s the book synopsis:
Since his death eighty-eight years ago, Harry Houdini’s life has been chronicled in books, in film, and on television. Now, in this groundbreaking biography, renowned magic expert William Kalush and bestselling writer Larry Sloman team up to find the man behind the myth. Drawing from millions of pages of research, they describe in vivid detail the passions that drove Houdini to perform ever-more-dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy, and a pernicious plot to subvert his legacy.
The Secret Life of Houdini traces the arc of the master magician’s life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame—his legacy later threatened by a group of fanatical Spiritualists led by esteemed British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Initiating the reader along the way into the arcane world of professional magic, Kalush and Sloman decode a life based on deception, providing an intimate and riveting portrayal of Houdini, the man and the legend.
Remarkably, this is the only feature project Trachtenberg has inked since he scored a smash hit with “10 Cloverfield Lane,” so presumably this will be a major priority.