Writer-director tapped for 'Houdini'
Jeff Nathanson signs on for biography adaptationJeff Nathanson has signed to write and direct the adaptation of William Kalush and Larry Sloman's Harry Houdini biography "The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero" for Summit Entertainment.
The book, published in 2006 by Atria Books, made waves at the time for insinuating that Houdini was a spy for Britain and was asked to be an adviser to Czar Nicholas II's court in pre-revolutionary 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 theory that his death was caused by the spiritual movement as payback.
Summit, hoping to capitalize on worldwide recognition of Houdini's name while potentially launching a franchise, is looking to take a more action-adventure tack -- akin to the one taken by the upcoming Guy Ritchie-Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie.
Nathanson has the right mix of adventure and character in his credits. One of the town's more in-demand scribes, he has worked on two "Rush Hour" movies and Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." He also wrote Spielberg character pieces "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Terminal."
Nathanson, repped by CAA, is adapting the children's book series "The 39 Clues" for DreamWorks. He made his directorial debut with indie crime caper "The Last Shot."