Dan Trachtenberg’s Houdini biopic lands Ben Affleck to star
While the 10 Cloverfield Lane filmmaker is currently hard at work on a new Predator film for 20th Century Studios and the former Batman is tied to a number of upcoming projects, Dan Trachtenberg’s Houdini may be back on track as Ben Affleck has reportedly signed on to star in the titular role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
First announced in 2006 but not seeing Trachtenberg join until 2016, the film is set to be based on the biographical novel The Secret Life of Houdini, which traces the arc of the master magician’s life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame, his legacy later threatened by a group of fanatical Spiritualists led by esteemed British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Initiating the reader along the way into the arcane world of professional magic, Kalush and Sloman decode a life based on deception, providing an intimate and riveting portrayal of Houdini, the man and the legend.
When the project was originally announced a decade ago, it was set up at Lionsgate with Frank Marshall (Jurassic World, Jason Bourne) and Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook) set to produce and Noah Oppenheim (Jackie, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, The Maze Runner) attached to pen the script, though with his controversies at NBC regarding the Harvey Weinstein/Ronan Farrow situation in 2017, it’s unknown if he’s currently still writing the script for the film, which is now set at Disney.
Following his breakout work in 2016 with 10 Cloverfield Lane and Black Mirror episode “Playtest,” Trachtenberg has been one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood, helming the pilot for and acting as an executive producer of Amazon’s The Boys and initially being tapped to helm Sony’s adaptation of the hit Naughty Dog game franchise Uncharted, until departing due to unknown circumstances. It was recently announced he would be directing the latest entry into 20th Century’s Predator franchise on a script from Patrick Aison.
Two-time Oscar winner Affleck has been making a powerful comeback following his relapse with his acclaimed work in the sports drama The Way Back earlier this year and has since attached himself to a number of projects, including the Ana de Armas-led Deep Water at 20th Century Studios, co-writing and co-starring in the Ridley Scott-helmed The Last Duel, which he penned alongside co-star Matt Damon and Nicole Holofcener, landing the lead role in the George Clooney-directed The Tender Bar adaptation and coming out of DC Extended Universe retirement to reprise his role as Batman for The Flash, while also attaching himself to direct an adaptation of The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood.
(Photo Credit: Pablo Cuadra/WireImage)