Dan Trachtenberg's Houdini Movie Casts Ben Affleck, But Not As Houdini

Ben Affleck is reportedly set to appear in a Harry Houdini movie about the world-famous magician and escape artist.

A new report says former Warner Bros. executive and current film producer Jeff Robinov has set up a Houdini movie at Disney with 10 Cloverfield Lane and Black Mirror director Dan Trachtenberg behind the camera. The project is described as a "star vehicle" for Affleck, but /Film has heard that Affleck will not be playing the lead character.

Today, The Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy profile of former WB executive Jeff Robinov, who was passed over for the top job at the company several years ago and who is now re-emerging in Hollywood as a producer. One of the projects he has set up around town for his Studio 8 production company is Houdini, which is based on William Kalush and Larry Sloman's book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero. The book posits that Houdini was actually a secret agent who investigated the occult, and the pitch for the movie was that not only was the man a world-class magician and escape artist, but also "part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes." When last we heard, the latest draft of the script was written by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner, Jackie). Trachtenberg has been attached to direct since 2016.

THR says this Houdini movie will be a "star vehicle" for Affleck, but we've heard that the actor won't be playing Houdini himself. Instead, Affleck will play a supporting character who is some kind of agent. Perhaps his character will be in the same spy circles as Houdini. Either way, I'm excited about the prospect of Affleck stepping into a supporting role and not having to carry the weight of an entire movie (or franchise) on his shoulders.

Affleck and Trachtenberg each have several projects in the works at the moment, so it's unclear exactly when this movie will get rolling. Affleck is set to star in George Clooney's The Tender Bar and will reprise his role as Batman in Andy Muschietti's The Flash. As a director, he recently agreed to direct The Big Goodbye about the making of Chinatown, he's set to helm a rebellion story called King Leopold's Ghost, and he still wants to make his own McMillions movie. As for Trachtenberg, he's making a new Predator movie, has a film called Milk set up at Lionsgate, and is still developing Crime of the Century at Universal.