The Hollywood Reporter reports that screenwriter Scott Frank (Minority Report, Marley & Me) is in talks to write the Houdini movie set-up at Sony/Columbia Pictures. That's the good news.
The bad news is some plot details have been revealed, and it appears Columbia is heading down the well-trodden road of fiction instead of fact. According to the article, the film "will center on Harry Houdini‘s attempts to discredit a beautiful spiritualist, although he becomes obsessed with her and starts to believe she is actually the real deal."
So, basically, it's the same plot as Death Defying Acts. And we all saw how well that worked out. Ironically, The Hollywood Reporter says Columbia was convinced to revive the Houdini project by this "fresh take."
I confess, I'm pretty disappointed. I really hoped this film was going to be more of a true biopic, which would have separated it from the other projects, all of which are fictional takes. I'm also disappointed that most of the current Houdini projects in development focus on his spirit debunking instead of his career as a death-defying escape artist.
Jimmy Miller will produce through his Mosaic Media production company. Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants) is attached to direct.
UPDATE: I now have it on pretty good authority that this plot description is incorrect. However, the plot that I heard (which I'm not at liberty to reveal) is even more fanciful and fictionalized.