Johnny Depp to Play Harry Houdini

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is possibly up to play the infamous illusionist, Harry Houdini, in the upcoming Lionsgate film, The Secret Life of Harry Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero. Dean Parisot of Red 2 and Galaxy Quest is set to direct this imaginative take on the legendary life of Houdini.

The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero plans to add an adventurous twist to the life of the magician by also portraying him as a spy and investigator of occultic beliefs. After getting bored with show business, Houdini uses his performance skills to get him in and out of dangerous situations. The movie is based off the 2007 book by Larry Sloman. Although the book is rich with true information about Houdini’s life and career, Sloman puts a Sherlock Holmes twist on the story. The spy aspect was a clever catch to keep readers interested, but in the movie it may become the entire concept. If Houdini’s life was not interesting enough to begin with, fans can expect the film to look a bit like what would happen if Indiana Jones starred in the The Prestige (2006).

The legendary Harry Houdini was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1874 as Ehrich Weisz. He created his stage name after his idol, a French magician named Robert Houdin. He gained recognition for constantly escaping the police, who were unable to contain him in cuffs or in jail. He started a show based off his escape arts, and later moved onto an international audience. His acts touched hundreds of stages and movie theaters during the early 20th century. In the 1920s he became renowned for debunking famous spiritualist and mediums, a trade he thought diminished the art of magic with religious notions. He died at the age of 52 as the result of a ruptured appendix.

The dark and mysterious presence of Johnny Depp just may be the perfect fit for Harry Houdini. Depp has proved himself to be an extremely diverse actor and has three Oscar nominations, as well as a number of well known characters under his belt. The 50-year-old actor has been working successfully since the early 80s, but a few of his most recent films were poorly received at box offices. The Lone Ranger (2013) and Transcendence (2014) were a major disappointment for fans, but he has a number of exciting films in the works to make it up to them. The sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) adaptation is set to bring Depp back as the Mad Hatter. The film is titled Through the Looking Glass and will come to theaters in 2016. This time around Burton will not be directing, but instead he hands the torch over to James Bobin, of the new Muppets films, and Flight of the Conchords (2007). Also keeping Depp busy with Disney Studios is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2016), the fifth film from their blockbuster series.

Houdini is long gone, but his name and reputation have not vanished. Thanks to Lionsgate, fans will be seeing Johnny Depp playing Harry Houdini in a new film within the next couple years.

By Morgan Louchen

Movie Pilot
Hollywood Reporter
The Great Harry Houdini