Summit Entertainment has bought The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero, picking up feature-film rights to the biography by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.
The comprehensive novel, published in 2006 by Atria Books, became known for insinuating that Harry Houdini acted as a spy for Britain and was asked to be an adviser to Czar Nicholas II’s court in prerevolutionary Russia. The book also portrayed the master escape artist and magician as a debunker of con artists who pretended to be spiritualists, leading to the controversial theory that Houdini’s death was caused by the spiritual movement as payback.
The studio is not looking to make a biopic but rather an action thriller featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes. Summit hopes to cash in on worldwide recognition of Houdini’s name while potentially launching a franchise.
The studio is looking for writers to adapt the book.