If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Who says movies aren't magical anymore? What? No one says that? Well, ok. In any event, both Summit and Columbia are putting together films about one of history's greatest magicians: Harry Houdini. Interestingly, the directors vying for these respective projects are 'Hunger Games' helmer Gary Ross and the man chosen to replace him for the franchise's second installment, Francis Lawrence. Summit's film, 'Houdini' is an adaptation of William Kalush and Larry Sloman's biography 'The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America's First Superhero' in which they suggest that he was not only a magician, but also a British spy, an American Secret Service agent, and was in cahoots with various police organizations. Summit's aim in acquiring the film rights to the book back in 2009 was to create an "action-thriller franchise featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes." Meanwhile, the Columbia project to which they are trying to attach Lawrence, is a far more straight-forward biopic. No official deals have been made with either director by either studio.
Dueling Houdini projects to possibly be helmed by the current and former 'Hunger Games' franchise directors? That's a bit odd, but nowhere near as odd as the wildly fantastical spin on Houdini in Summit's film. I haven't read the biography on which it is based so I'm not sure if the writers genuinely believe, and possibly even provide evidence for, these claims, but Summit is clearly wanting to take the material and craft something that capitalizes on the crop of historical fantasies of late (a la 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'). In that regard, I can totally see Gary Ross pulling that off; big studio adventure films seem comfortably in his wheelhouse now. It'll be interesting to see two "biopics" centering on one person with such vastly different approaches. It's kind of like how 'Capote' and 'Infamous' were released at the same time...or it would be like that if one of those movies saw Truman Capote fighting ninjas and working for the CIA.
What do you guys think? Would you prefer a more fantastical Houdini film or a straight-forward biopic?