Captain Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp has signed up to play one of the world’s most famous illusionists in a film currently being referred to as The Secret Life of Harry Houdini. Depp may also be producing the film, and no doubt donning an intriguing wig/hat/both for most of his screen time.
The script is to be based on a book by Larry Sloman and William Kalush titled The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero, which was published in 2006. Directing will be Dean Parisot (of Fun with Dick and Jane and Galaxy Quest fame).
If you’re after a nice dramatic historical biopic of Houdini, you’re out of luck. The casting of Depp (who has become known for his characterful comedy roles) in combination with director Parisot gives us a clue as to what sort of film we can expect; the movie is said to be envisioned as an action-adventure Indiana Jones type of tale, with Houdini painted as a master illusionist turned occult investigator. In reality, Houdini did do quite a bit of occult investigation, but only so he could prove that it was all bunk (he knew all the tricks, after all).
Depp is also due to get to work on the 5th Pirates of the Caribbean film, as well as Through the Looking Glass (the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, in which he plays the Mad Hatter). The second Alice film is due to get underway next, but it is unclear if we’ll be seeing Secret Life of Harry Houdini before Pirates 5.