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Warner Bros. is conjuring up Mandrake the Magician, picking up the movie rights to the classic comic strip with Atlas Entertainment producing.
Created by Lee Falk in 1934, Mandrake told of the adventures of an illusionist who had the power to hypnotize his foes at great speed. With his companion Lothar, an African strongman, he fought evildoers ranging from gangsters to masters of disguise to aliens. He also had a twin brother who used his power for evil instead of good.
Mandrake is one of those characters that Hollywood has long tried to nail down in a viable movie adaptation. Columbia Pictures made a 12-part serial in 1939, and a TV movie aired in the 1970s, but nothing has made it to screens since.
Disney had the rights to the character for a while, but most recently the property was held by Baldwin Entertainment and Hyde Park, which in the late 2000s developed incarnations with directors Chuck Russell and Mimi Leder and actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Hayden Christensen.
Atlas became involved with the project in 2009 and even developed a script with David and Janet Peoples (12 Monkeys).
Warners now wants to give the character a 21st century makeover, the same way it did for Sherlock Holmes, and is on the hunt for new writers.
Sarah Schechter is overseeing for Warners. Charles Roven and Andy Horwitz are shepherding for Atlas.
Rocky Shepard of King Features Syndicate and Atlas’ Alan Glazer are exec producing.
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