Sunday, May 29, 2022

My choice for Houdini is still Tom Cruise

This Memorial Day weekend Top Gun Maverick roars into movie theaters and is already setting box office records. I loved the movie and think it deserves all its success and more. Tom Cruise still knows how to make a movie for everyone.

But all this just reminds me of how close we came to having a big budget Houdini movie starring Tom Cruise. Cruise was interesting in, and may have even been attached, to the Houdini project producer Ray Stark tried for many years to launch at Columbia.

The one Ray Stark commissioned script I've read was written by Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. It's excellent and on every page you can envision Tom Cruise in the part. An early scene in which Houdini is filming the rapids action for his movie The Man From Beyond, doing his own stunts and demanding perfection from his crew, seems right out of the Tom Cruise playbook. So does Houdini's drive, his intensity, his fearlessness, and his sense of moral justice. 

I really feel like Tom Cruise and Houdini are cut from a similar cosmic cloth and that Cruise would embody Houdini better than any other actor. And Cruise's compact 5' 7" frame is a nice physical match. Yes, I know he's now older than Houdini ever became, but have you seen Maverick? Apparently not an issue

Recently Paramount announced they were developing a new Houdini movie. Of course, Paramount is also the home base for Tom Cruise's production company, Cruise/Wagner. While the Paramount movie is being developed by a different producer, maybe the two can get together? Although, personally, I'd love to see them just go back and shoot the Rivele and Wilkinson script.

Oh, wait, Houdini and Tom Cruise....both pilots! So how about a movie dramatizing Houdini's race to be the first man to fly in Australia?

Click the links below to read more about the Houdini movies that never were. And see Top Gun Maverick. Trust me.


  1. My vote for best Houdini actor goes to Harvey Keitel. Dorothy Young thought he approximated Houdini more than any other actor. His face, short stature, stride, and mannerisms strike me as Houdinilike. Dorothy was right about him. He have starred in a serious bio on HH.

  2. I'd like to see Mark Wahlberg; he has a great physical match

  3. I just read the screenplay and agree that there's a lot there (especially so much for Bess!), but the whole supernatural angle got in the way for me. I might have preferred a more "was it or wasn't it a ghost?" approach rather than "Yep, it was Walter." But it is damn good.