Adrien Brody To Play Houdini

New TV series on the magician's life

The US's History channel has had success in the couple of years with dramas like Hatfields & McCoys, and now they're going back to the well with a planned Houdini mini-series, with Adrien Brody set to star as the legendary magician.

Houdini, of course, grew up in Wisconsin and trained himself in magic, becoming the most famous magician in the world thanks to stunts like challenging the local police chief wherever he went to lock him up as securely as possible - and then escaping. He also spent some time debunking spiritualists and other supernatural fakers, which brought him into conflict with one-time fan Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are also serious claims that he may have worked as a spy around the time of World War I, when modern international espionage was in its infancy, but it's unclear at this point whether that will be part of this story.

A Houdini biopic was in the works late last year, with first Gary Ross and then Joe Wright in talks to direct a story based on The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero, by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. That's gone quiet, so it looks like the History series may go ahead first.

Whichever way you look at it, it's a good time to be a magician in general (see also today's new trailer for Now You See Me) and Houdini in particular. If you can't wait for the show, we suggest watching 2007's Death-Defying Acts, which sees Guy Pearce play the magician, and Brody's turn in The Brothers Bloom back-to-back to get a feel for it.