Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

'Out Of Sight' and 'Minority Report' Scribe Scott Frank To Write 'Houdini' For Francis Lawrence

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 25, 2011 at 1:40AM

Considering that, in real life, the profession seems to fall somewhere between "repellent" and "unbelievably douchey" (see: David Blaine, Criss Angel), it's somewhat surprising how many magic-based movies we have going around these days. The 2006 double bill of "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist" was the peak of the genre, but recent years have also brought the animated "Illusionist," Guy Pearce in the little-seen "Death Defying Acts" and, later in the summer, David Tennant as a vampire-fighting trickster in "Fright Night," while an adaptation of the seminal novel "Carter Beats The Devil" recently got a new lease on life. Even Pixar got in on the act, with the short "Presto."
3


Considering that, in real life, the profession seems to fall somewhere between "repellent" and "unbelievably douchey" (see: David Blaine, Criss Angel), it's somewhat surprising how many magic-based movies we have going around these days. The 2006 double bill of "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist" was the peak of the genre, but recent years have also brought the animated "Illusionist," Guy Pearce in the little-seen "Death Defying Acts" and, later in the summer, David Tennant as a vampire-fighting trickster in "Fright Night," while an adaptation of the seminal novel "Carter Beats The Devil" recently got a new lease on life. Even Pixar got in on the act, with the short "Presto."

Of course, the best-known magician of all time is Harry Houdini, who became perhaps the biggest celebrity in the world in the early part of the 20th century, before dying an untimely death when a feat of bravado went wrong. Houdini's cropped up onscreen a number of times, but there's now quite a few projects centering on the legendary illusionist knocking around -- Dreamworks recently acquired a spec script from "Changeling" writer J. Michael Straczynski, called "Voices From The Dead," which has Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle teaming up to solve a murder, while Summit hired "Jackie" writer Noah Oppenheim to pen "The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero," planned to be an actioner involving the magician's time with the Secret Service. But the one that seems to have the momentum behind it is set up at Sony: it already has one of the most sought-after directors around on board, and now it's landed one of the most well-respected writers.

Heat Vision reports that Scott Frank, the writer behind top-notch screenplays like "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight," "Minority Report" and the underrated, self-directed "The Lookout," has been hired to write "Houdini," which will be directed by "I Am Legend" and "Water for Elephants" helmer Francis Lawrence. This version seems will be a drama about Houdini attempting to debunk a spiritualist, only to fall for her, and start to believe that she could be authentic.

It certainly seems to be an a similar wheelhouse to "Water for Elephants," which picked up respectful but unenthusiastic reviews and box office a few months back. Lawrence has quite a few projects circling at present, including the WW2 tale "Unbroken," which Richard LaGravenese is writing, and a big-budget superhero take on "Samson," so it'll probably depend on how the scripts turn out as to which he moves on to next. Still, hiring Frank is a good start: aside from being one of the most in-demand script doctors around, he's one of the best in the business for this kind of thing. It's a smart hire on Sony's part, even if we'd rather see Frank working on another directorial effort (he was removed by Fox from the project that eventually became "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which he originated).

This article is related to: Films, Francis Lawrence, Houdini, Scott Frank


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates