Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brody taking the plunge in 'Houdini'

Here's a first look at the Milk Can and Water Torture Cell from HISTORY's upcoming Houdini miniseries starring Adrien Brody.

Photo by Colin Hutton © 2014 History (click to enlarge).

Photo by Colin Hutton © 2014 History (click to enlarge).

Unlike other photos from the miniseries which reveal a certain devotion to accuracy (especially in regards to costumes), in these we see the filmmakers are taking some liberties with how Houdini staged these escapes, especially the Milk Can. Houdini would have never used a painted can, and he certainly never tied it into any sort of Egyptian theme. Part of his aesthetic was to keep his escapes grounded in a familiar reality. These were not magic illusions. These were serious and dangerous demonstrations. The Water Torture Cell is better, although the cell looks quite modern, and what's with those twins?

However, one must remember that a television biopic is tasked with making Houdini's stage act appear thrilling to a modern audience, so maybe the amped up theatrically is necessary. It is exciting to see these two most famous Houdini escapes will be part of the 4-hour television event.

The real thing.

Houdini co-stars Kristen Connolly as Bess, Evan Jones as Jim Collins, Eszter Ónodi as Cecilia Weiss, and Tom Benedict Knight as Theo Hardeen. The miniseries is directed by Uli Edel from a script by Nicholas Meyer. It airs in two parts on September 1 & 2 at 9pm ET/PT on HISTORY.

Stay tuned for more spectacular photos from HISTORY's Houdini right here on WILD ABOUT HARRY.

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12 comments:

  1. You can't beat the genuine article, that's for sure. Maybe I'm just a stickler for authenticity, but I don't like the way they see the need to "pretty up" Houdini. Maybe they're trying to bolster the idea that he was a raving egomaniac and used flashy set-pieces to get people's attention? I'm praying that they'll avoid death-by-torture-cell for once; even so, I still can't get over the idea of a 6' 1" Houdini!

    -Meredith

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    1. I think they're just giving it extra flair and making it look more like other magicians of the period and what an audience might think Houdini's act looked like. I don't think they get or appreciate (or don't trust audiences to get) that part of Houdini "modern" approach to magic was to keep it simple and raw. But in other regards, this miniseries is really doing a nice job recreating Houdini's world accurately. I have some other photos that will show this.

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  2. The painted Milk Can, the Egyptian motif? I'm not feeling it...

    I agree with John that Houdini's approach to stage magic was to keep it simple and raw.

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    1. Of course, he did theme-up the Buried Alive at the end of his career, and an Egyptian them at that, so...

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  3. Not feeling Brody as Houdini. Don't like the painted milk can or the manner the USD performance is being portrayed. Such an exciting breathtaking life.....just tell it like it was. Perry from NJ.

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    1. You can look at the photo and get upset that the Milk Can is painted. Or you can look at it and feel good that they got the can right, the assistants in raincoats right, the color of Houdini's bathing suit right, and the handcuffs right. And the Egyptian theme was used by HH in Buried Alive, so it is of Houdini's world.

      This isn't a documentary, so you're not going to get 100% accuracy. I said it before, I'm just thrilled what we are getting is a true biopic. The story of Houdini's life and career. Every other Houdini project in Hollywood (and there are a lot) are total fictions with Houdini battling vampires and whatnot without a Milk Can in sight.

      Be happy. :)

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  4. Not only that Perry, take another look at the Milk Can photo. The excess water is not spilling out of the top of the can, it's seeping out of the seam!

    The water is coming out of the rim where the can is supposed to separate! What the...?

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    1. Careful, you... ;p

      I think it's just running down from the top and launching out at the rim. I have a super duper high res version of this photo and it's clearer that's what's happening.

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  5. I understand your points. Brody is not doing it for me as Houdini. I am hoping that my perceptions are completely wrong. Brody's sheepish expressions in still photos don't express the intensity, charisma or personality of Houdini. Of course these are just photos and he may convey differently on TV. Let's hope so. A Houdini without a dynamic personality ain't Houdini.

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    1. I do think Brody has a charisma that Houdini certainly possessed as well. Maybe they don't share a lot of physical traits, but with both you know there's a Star in the room. That's good.

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  6. I agree with John. I was not very pleased with Brody at first, however… big picture, people. This is a biopic starring an oscar -winning actor. That alone will garner a lot of attention, bring in viewers and introduce Houdini to a wider audience.

    Let's be thankful. This movie could've easily been: 'Harry Houdini Vampire Hunter', or 'Houdini: 2 Fast 2 Furious', or 'Harry Houdini and the Sorcerer's Stone'.

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    1. Thanks Mantoo. And well said. I'm also still warming up to Brody, but an Oscar-caliber actor is a huge plus and what Houdini deserves. The last Houdini cable biopic suffered because of casting, IMO.

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