It was back in 2014 Johnny Depp (Alice In Wonderland) began talks to play famed illusionist and escapologist Harry Houdini for director Dean Parisot (RED 2). Things had gone awfully quiet since then. Now the project appears to be springing back to life, with word arriving via Deadline that Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) is currently in talks to call the shots.
Depp appears to be long gone (unless Trachtenberg's name is enough to lure him back), but it is the latest twist for a story that has seen various directors, including Joe Wright (Atonement) and Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), interested over the years. Back in 2009, Summit Entertainment picked up the rights to William Kalush and Larry Sloman's book The Secret Life Of Houdini: The Making Of America's First Superhero, which hit bookshelves in 2006 and caused ripples by adding to claims that the escape artist (birth name Erik Weisz) was an undercover agent for various organisations. The pair claims that he not only worked with British Intelligence, but the US Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies.
It certainly makes sense that Lionsgate (which bought Summit) would want to keep trying with this one – Houdini remains a compelling subject for both movies and TV, with a variety of creative types tying to bring him to the screen again.