The turn-of-the-century illusionist Harry Houdini is still very popular in U.S. – Aaron Sorkin and Hugh Jackman are collaborating on a Broadway musical about him for the 2013-2014 season.
Based on ‘The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero’ by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, the Summit/Lionsgate project is one of several Houdini films currently in development around Hollywood: DreamWorks acquired a spec script from Changeling writer J. Michael Straczynski called Voices From The Dead, and Sony enlisted the upcoming The Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence to helm an untitled Houdini-centered biopic.
Joe Wright has made a home in costume drama such as Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and most recently Anna Karenina, so it’s no surprise that a biography called The Secret Life of Houdini has attracted the interest of Golden Globe nominee.
Wright may not quite be an A-list director at this current juncture in the game, but he’s going to get there eventually in all likelihood, even if his body of work is still a bit on the smaller side.
Previously attached The Hunger Games director Gary Ross has reportedly ‘lost interest’ in the project.
The Secret Life of Houdini according to sources comes to theaters in 2014.
Here’s a book description via Amazon:
Handcuff King. Escape Artist. International Superstar. Since his death eighty 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.
Source: L.A. Times