It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Harry Houdini. He’s an enigmatic figure, a rational thinker who disposed of frauds and phonies, and a damned cool magician. In fact, I was so obsessed growing up that I once handcuffed myself in attempt to emulate my hero. To this day, my hands are still handcuffed behind my back.
So obviously I was pretty stoked when we got a press release claiming that Summit, who seems to be moving up in the world quite nicely, optioned “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero.” The biography itself came out in 2006 and went straight to my bookshelf alongside a healthy dose of controversy – or at least as much as there can be in the small world of Houdini fans – because it claimed that Houdini had been a spy for England and supposed that his death was a conspiracy between spiritualists that he had exposed as frauds.
However, the company is seeking to create a fictional adventure-seeker, not to paint a portrait of the actual Houdini – a fact that requires me to mention that, no, Brendan Fraser does not look anything like Harry Houdini. I realize he’s available for the part, but no. Just no.
Part of me wishes that this could go in a similar direction that Confessions of a Dangerous Mind went. An iconic figure leading a secret life as a spy, a view into both worlds as they come crashing down, effecting the man until he either breaks free from the situation or it leads to his downfall. Part of me wishes this, but most of my knows that Summit will create something more family-friendly that will be the basis for The Houdini Adventure: Part 5 coming out in 2014.
But it’s still very cool to bring such an intriguing historical figure to the big screen. It’s a great book to adapt from, even if “Carter Beats the Devil” would make a far better flick.
What do you think? Who would you cast as Houdini?