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Adrien Brody to play Harry Houdini in an upcoming History channel mini-series

Aug. 19, 2013by: Alex Maidy
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History, like many cable networks, is venturing away from what the channel was initially designed to showcase and into the world of scripted television. With the huge success of their HATFIELDS & MCCOYS mini-series as well as THE BIBLE and VIKINGS, History may have found their next big project. Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody has committed to star in History's mini-series based on the life of famous magician Harry Houdini.

To be directed by Uli Edel (THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX), HOUDINI will co-star Kristen Connolly (THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, HOUSE OF CARDS) as Houdini's wife, Bess. The script for the four hour series comes from Nicholas Meyer. The film will start shooting this fall and will likely air in 2014. The story will follow the man behind the magic as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from U.S. presidents to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Grigori Rasputin. The drama will chronicle the life of a man who can defy death through his stunts, his visions and his mastery of illusion.

Adrien Brody had this to say about the project:

Since my childhood, when I dreamed of being a great magician, Harry Houdini has been one of my heroes. His bravery and obsessive determination still fascinate me. Houdini mastered the art of escape not only from physical chains, but from poverty and the social constraints of a humble immigrant origin. His life story appeals to the universal longing for acceptance with which we all can identify. To portray him is beyond an honor.

I myself was obsessed with Houdini as a kid. We have had very few movies that have done a good job portraying prestidigitation, the exceptions being Christopher Nolan's THE PRESTIGE and Neil Burger's THE ILLUSIONIST. HOUDINI, if given the same budget as HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, could be another must see. Having Brody as the headliner certainly helps as well.

Source: Deadline

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2:50AM on 08/20/2013
cool! I'm down!
cool! I'm down!
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10:24PM on 08/19/2013
One of my favourite tropes is "Beethoven was an Alien Spy", revealing "secret pasts" of historical figures we never knew. Houdini sounds like the perfect candidate for that treatment.
One of my favourite tropes is "Beethoven was an Alien Spy", revealing "secret pasts" of historical figures we never knew. Houdini sounds like the perfect candidate for that treatment.
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8:07PM on 08/19/2013
This sounds really good. Especially with Brody as the lead. The guy is a great actor who I think is very underrated even though he won an Oscar.

Would love to see what he could do if he were cast as Doctor Strange.
This sounds really good. Especially with Brody as the lead. The guy is a great actor who I think is very underrated even though he won an Oscar.

Would love to see what he could do if he were cast as Doctor Strange.
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7:56PM on 08/19/2013
The Drunk History version is going to be hard to beat.
The Drunk History version is going to be hard to beat.
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6:30PM on 08/19/2013
How there isn't a great movie about Houdini yet, I don't know. The guy's life is one of the most original stories you'll ever read. Brody gets a lot of flack but I think he has great screen presence.
How there isn't a great movie about Houdini yet, I don't know. The guy's life is one of the most original stories you'll ever read. Brody gets a lot of flack but I think he has great screen presence.
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6:16PM on 08/19/2013

How the mighty have fallen.

This guy's career went by the wayside for the same reason as Edward Norton's: his diva behaviour on and off sets alienated him from a lot of people in Hollywood. He had so much promise, won an Oscar at a very early age, but his ego got the better part of him. When you're on a hot streak at the box office, Hollywood is willing to look the other way; but his movies kept coming in short financially. His last film was a comedy co-starring Lindsay Lohan, directed by the guy from the Sham Wow
This guy's career went by the wayside for the same reason as Edward Norton's: his diva behaviour on and off sets alienated him from a lot of people in Hollywood. He had so much promise, won an Oscar at a very early age, but his ego got the better part of him. When you're on a hot streak at the box office, Hollywood is willing to look the other way; but his movies kept coming in short financially. His last film was a comedy co-starring Lindsay Lohan, directed by the guy from the Sham Wow commercials. Seriously. He's the epitome of a bright young talent fallen from grace. I'll give him this, though: he got screwed over twice -- he was cast as a primary role in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, but Lee hated him, and cut almost all his screentime from the movie without telling him; then Terrence Malick cast him as the lead in Thin Red Line before deciding to COMPLETELY change the structure of the film in post-production, turning him into a supporting character at best, when in fact he had been doing the press circuit still under the belief that he was the lead actor. (George Clooney did an interview talking about how Brody was literally being asked by reporters, "Who were you in the movie?" -- when he was under the impression that he was the star of the film.)

I actually fully supported his role in Predators and enjoyed his performance, but it felt a bit forced too, like he was consciously trying very hard to bring acting gravitas to the macho man persona. I didn't mind it but the movie did pretty poorly at the box office relative to the others in the franchise. I'd still like him to do a sequel but I don't think it'll happen. Not with him in it anyway.
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5:53PM on 08/19/2013
At least they're not making shit like Honey Boo Boo, Mermans, and Megalodon... yet!
At least they're not making shit like Honey Boo Boo, Mermans, and Megalodon... yet!
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