Harry Houdini is probably the most famous magician who ever lived. The man lived a life that movies are made of. He held secrets, told lies, vanished into thin air, and occasionally pulled a rabbit out of a hat. There have been several films based on the life of the late magician and according to THR another one is on the horizon. Summit Entertainment must be obsessed with fantasy films, because they not only want to make a movie but a whole franchise based on Houdini’s life.
The studio has acquired the rights to “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero,” a biography written by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. The controversial book was published in 2006 and suggested that Houdini was a spy for Britain, and was asked to be an advisor to Czar Nicholas II’s court in pre-revolutionary Russia. He also used his gifts to smoke out con artists and supposed “spiritualists.” Some believe his work against the spiritual community is what caused his untimely death in 1926.
Summit doesn’t want this to be a biopic. They want to use the name, image and accolades of Houdini as a starting point for an action hero franchise. They’re going for someone who is “part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes.” The studio is currently looking for writers to pen the screenplay. The last film that was based on Houdini was 2008′s Death Defying Acts, which starred Guy Pearce.
I will admit that Houdini did lead an extraordinary life. There were so many shades of gray when it came to him. I can see the dramatic and phantasmal elements that they can pull from. With that being said, why don’t they just have an original character who has similarities to Houdini, but is his own person? At least then they could have an original property since they plan on spawning a franchise. I’m on the fence with this one.
What do you think about Summit creating a Houdini-based franchise?