EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment is in early negotiations with Dean Parisot to direct the Noah Oppenheim-[scripted] feature about Harry Houdini that Summit has been developing the project for several years. It’s based on the William Kalush and Larry Sloman book The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero. The tale paints Houdini as more than a master illusionist. He was a spy and a true renaissance man across the globe. This project had Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross involved for a bit, but he fell off the project. There have been several Houdini projects in development, including at DreamWorks, but like a lot of magic movies, they’ve faltered. I’ll tell you more when I know it. WME-repped Parisot just wrapped the Summit Entertainment sequel Red 2, with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren returning, and Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones among the new castmembers.
As always, I have mixed feelings when I hear news about this project. On one hand I badly want a big budget Hollywood movie about Houdini. But I'm not at all thrilled with it being one that perpetuates the balderdash about Houdini being a spy.
But it's still too early to get excited...or depressed.