Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by Angie Han
Harry Houdini has the subject of much interest in Hollywood for the past couple of years, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at your local theater listings. We’ve barely heard a peep about Summit’s Houdini spy film since Dean Parisot entered talks to direct last summer, and DreamWorks doesn’t seem to have done much with Voices From the Dead since buying it in 2011.
Sony’s competing project doesn’t seem to be very far along, either, but it is at least moving. Chronicle scribe Max Landis has reportedly been tapped to do yet another rewrite of the screenplay. Hit the jump for the latest on the film
TheWrap’s Jeff Sneider tweeted the news today. Landis is coming off of a fairy busy period. After breaking out with Chronicle in 2012, he spent time trying to put together a sequel before moving on to his directorial debut Me Him Her. He’s also worked on the screenplays for Fox’s Frankenstein, the buddy comedy Good Time Gang, and the Kristen Stewart-Jesse Eisenberg action comedy American Ultra.
Sony’s Houdini movie has been developing for years. To give you a sense of just how long it’s been kicking around, Paul Verhoeven was attached to one incarnation in the late ’90s. More recently, the studio entered talks with Francis Lawrence. But a deal was never made, and no director is on board at this time. Last we heard about the screenplay, Scott Frank (Minority Report) was working on a draft.
For all its history, not much is known about the film. Earlier reports indicated that Sony’s picture would be “a new approach” to the legendary magician, and more recent ones say that it’ll have “an HP Lovecraft influence.”
As for the other two films, Summit’s is expected to portray Houdini as “a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes,” while Voices From the Dead is supposed to be a supernatural thriller about the friendship between Houdini and Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle. Sometimes, when multiple studios are planning films on the same topic, it spurs each one to go faster, but that does not appear to be the case here at all.