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A feature film based on the Magic Castle, the famed private Hollywood club, is being developed by producer Ted Field and his company, Radar Pictures. The project is set up at 20th Century Fox.
The historic 1909 mansion on Franklin Avenue is the headquarters of the nonprofit Academy of Magical Arts Inc. and serves as a nightclub and performance space for magicians. Those who have performed at the club include magicians Mark Wilson and Jay Ose, as well as celebrity magic enthusiasts such as Cary Grant, Steve Martin, Johnny Carson and Neil Patrick Harris, who is president of the Academy of Magical Arts.
Magic Castles Inc., the holding company that controls the club’s intellectual property, also has signed with CAA for representation. The talent agency will look for opportunities for the Magic Castle in areas including television, film, live events, video games, digital media and merchandising.
“We are excited about the future of the Magic Castle brand as represented by CAA, and we look forward to the expansion of the brand through the extensive network of the individuals and companies they represent,” said Milt Larsen, co-founder of the Magic Castle, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
The 7001 W. Franklin Ave. property just west of Highland Avenue was turned into a private magic club in 1963; it is not open to the public, and guests must be invited by a member. Nightly shows are put on at the Magic Castle, a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument that was built in a Chateau style prevalent in Hollywood through the 1920s.
With its many stages, labyrinthine corridors and old-fashioned decor, the Magic Castle looks the part of a mysterious den of sorcery. Field is no stranger to films that center on all things spooky and supernatural; his producing credits include The Amityville Horror, Arachnophobia and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. His other credits include Jumanji, Cocktail and 3 Men and a Baby. Also producing the Magic Castle project is Mike Weber, head of production at Radar.
Several notable venues have been the subject of Hollywood films. Disney turned its Haunted Mansion into a 2003 family-oriented comedy thriller starring Eddie Murphy, while Fox has had much more success with its Night at the Museum franchise, which began with the 2006 film set at the American Museum of Natural History.
The Magic Castle mansion was damaged in a fire last Halloween; in the aftermath of the conflagration, which started in the building’s attic, the property briefly closed before partly reopening in November. It fully reopened in February.
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