The world-famous escape artist and illusionist Harry Houdini is set to get yet another cinematic treatment, this time from “Transformers” producers Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian for Paramount. No plot details have been revealed and the project is still untitled, but there have been rumblings around the industry that the film will be a period piece and share a similar tone to “Sherlock Holmes,” treating Houdini as somewhat of a human superhero. Makes sense considering for a while it looked like Dan Trachtenberg was going to make a Houdini film featuring Ben Affleck in a supporting role and based on the book “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero.” There’s been no movement on that film for nearly two years, so there’s a good chance it’s not happening, with the new flick from Paramount taking its place.
The unnamed Houdini script is being written by duo Neil Widener and Gavin James (“San Andreas 2,” “Now You See Me 3”) who were recently announced as writing the upcoming “Beyblade” movie from Jerry Bruckheimer. With all of these upcoming projects, it seems like Widener and James are poised to be the next big-ticket action writing team. Houdini is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating characters in entertainment history, but he’s already been played by some of the greatest actors in Hollywood history like Tony Curtis, Paul Michael Glaser, Harvey Keitel, Adrien Brody, Michael Weston, Michael Dreyer, and Guy Pearce.
This project will be the latest Houdini-focused movie since 2007’s supernatural romance film, “Death Defying Acts.”
Please Be A Covert Rose Mackenberg Biopic
Houdini is mostly known in pop culture for his remarkable skills as an illusionist, magician, and escape artist, with memorable performances like escaping straitjackets underwater, being buried alive, escaping the belly of a whale, needle swallowing, escaping jail cells, and other unbelievable feats of endurance. Houdini also famously hated grifters, spiritualists, and snake oil salesmen, frequently using his skills to quash people trying to pull one over on everyday people. Hell, the man lobbied congress to outlaw fortune-tellers! The person who frequently gets left out of the discussion of Houdini’s legacy, however, is Rose Mackenberg.
Rose Mackenberg worked as Houdini’s sort of “personal ghostbuster” frequently going undercover to supposed mediums for Houdini as a way to investigate spiritualist fraud. Houdini taught her all of the tricks so-called mediums would use to take advantage of unsuspecting people looking for something to believe in. After reporting back her findings, Houdini would make appearances in town and in the midst of his acts, call out and disprove the local spiritualists and show the audience the “magic” of how they were being fooled.
I’ve seen plenty of talented actors imitate Houdini and escape a straightjacket. Give me a movie about a woman going undercover to help him debunk spiritualist swindlers!
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