If you want to know about the tra[s Hollywood studios often fall into, look no further than the recent string of Harry Houdini projects. Here we have one of the most fascinating men of the twentieth century. Undoubtedly the most famous magician of all-time and a leading figure in debunking faith healers, spiritualists and sham psychics, his real life story is dazzling and seemingly built for Hollywood; but two competing projects are trying to jazz his life up to manufacture more intrigue. The first, from Dreamworks, is about Houdini’s real life friendship with Sherlock Holmes writer Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, but it’s been bastardized and fictionalized to follow the pair as they combine forces with a psychic to solve crimes. The second, long considered dead, rebrands Houdini as a spy. Now the latter is back on with a new writer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, scribe Noah Oppenheim is onboard to rewrite The Secret Life Of Houdini, The Making Of America’s First Superhero. It’s based on a controversial biography that hinted at the magician’s involvement with both Britain and Russia’s governments. Summit is describing the project as an Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes that will delve seriously into Houdini’s covert operations, as well as his burgeoning stardom in the world of magic.

I love Houdini. As much as it pains me to say it, I will see both of these movies if they ever see the light of day. Three to one odds I hate both.

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