5:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
CW Plots 'The Illusionist' Remake With 'True Blood' Alum
The CW is getting into development season's remake game.
The younger-skewing network is adapting The Illusionist, the 2006 feature film starring Ed Norton, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The feature, written and directed by Neil Burger, is based on Steven Millhauser's short story and centers on a magician who uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman (Jessica Biel) far above his social standing. The CW's version is set in turn-of-the-century New York and follows a renowned illusionist who returns home from a decade in prison to find his wife married to the ruthless crime boss who framed him. Posing as an underling in the crime boss' own organization, the illusionist uses cunning magic to pull off elaborate heists, rising quickly through the organization in order to take down the boss from the inside and win back his one true love.
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Former True Blood showrunner Mark Hudis is on board to pen the script for CBS Television Studios, Electus and the Yari Film Group. Electus' Ben Silverman and Bob Yari will executive produce. Yari's banner produced and distributed the feature film alongside Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Michael London and Cathy Schulman.
The Illusionist grossed $87 million worldwide, with the film garnering an Academy Award nomination for best cinematography.
The Illusionist comes as The CW has found success with magic-themed unscripted fare, including Masters of Illusion and Penn & Teller: Fool Us, as the genre continues to gain popularity across the dial.
The Illusionist becomes the latest big-screen remake this development season as broadcast networks look to existing properties to help cut through the clutter in an increasingly competitive scripted landscape. Fox is reviving Big, Minority Report and Monster-in-Law; CBS is tackling Rush Hour; Showtime is rebooting In the Heat of the Night and She's Gotta Have It; and NBC is readying Problem Child and The Money Pit, among scores of others this season.
For The CW, the news comes a day after the network launched its adaptation of Venezuelan telenovela Jane the Virgin — produced by Silverman's Electus — to solid returns.
Hudis, whose credits include Nurse Jackie and That '70s Show, is repped by UTA.