Has Harry Houdini Magicked Up A Director?

Summit locking Dean Parisot in a box

Dean Parisot, Harry Houdini

Presto the rabbit might disagree, but magic rarely sells at the box office. Time again, the life of the great escapologist, Harry Houdini, has seemed to be heading to the screen; time and again circumstances have conspired against it. This time Summit Entertainment may have nailed the slippery so-and-so, with Dean Parisot aboard.

The Galaxy Quest director is currently putting the finishing touches on Summit's geriatric actioner Red 2 and, claims Deadline Hollywood, the studio are leveraging that existing relationship to tie him to their adaptation of Noah Oppenheim's script. Hunger Games' Gary Ross was attached as recently as 2012, but subsequently withdrew in favour of other projects, Civil War drama The Free State of Jones among them.

Back in 2009, Summit snapped up the rights to William Kalush and Larry Sloman’s book The Secret Life Of Houdini, The Making Of America’s First Superhero, which came out in 2006 and added to controversial claims that the escape expert was an undercover agent for various organisations. The pair claims that he not only worked with British Intelligence, but the US Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies.

Oppenheim's treatment - half The Prestige, half Hitchcock by the sounds of it - will add to the big-screen legacy of a man whose daring feats always had a cinematic quality. Tony Curtis played him in George Marshall's 1953 eponymous biopic, but that's been the Niagara Falls rider's lot.

We'll be watching this one with interest. For all your barrel-riding needs in the meantime, feast your eyes on the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.