Is Johnny Depp looking to pull a vanishing act?
The actor is in negotiations to star as famed magician Harry Houdini in The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero for Lionsgate’s Summit label. Dean Parisot (Red 2) is directing.
The story, which is said to be in the vein of Indiana Jones, recasts Houdini as not just a master escape artist but an investigator of the world of the occult. Noah Oppenheim wrote the screenplay, which is based on William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s book of the same name.
Depp is coming off two box-office disappointments in Transcendence and The Lone Ranger. But he also is set to revisit two blockbuster franchises in the coming year with Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and a sequel to Alice in Wonderland, both at Disney. Alice 2, also known as Through the Looking Glass, will shoot next, after he finishes the Whitey Bulger crime drama Black Mass. The only question is whether Secret Life of Houdini will shoot before Pirates 5. Lionsgate is eyeing a November 2014 start, which would push Pirates‘ production to early 2015.
Depp teamed with Lionsgate on the upcoming film Mortdecai, which will be released Feb. 6, 2015.
Christi Dembrowski, Depp’s producing partner at Infinitum Nihil, also is in negotiations to produce Secret Life of Houdini alongside Frank Marshall (The Bourne Legacy) and Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook). Dembrowski and Depp also produced Mortdecai.
Depp is repped by UTA.