Though Glen David Gold’s novel Carter Beats The Devil was quickly snatched up for film adaptation upon publication in 2001, it has since lingered in the netherworld of development, unable to cross over into the land of production. Now, 21 Jump Street co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are in talks to try to shepherd it to our screens.
Gold’s book, which blended real historical fact with fiction long before Seth Grahame-Smith dabbled with zombies, vampire hunters and wise men, was a big hit when it arrived. The story follows real-life stage magician Charles Carter in the 1920s. But it weaves a fabricated tale around him, involving President Warren G Harding (who turns up dead, sparking a murder mystery) and other real figures, including Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers.
Right now, Lord and Miller are still in the early stages of figuring out whether they’ll get involved, which means no one should take this as a sign that we’ll see the book in cinemas any time soon. After all, even Tom Cruise couldn’t get it made with Paramount in 2002 and AMC – which has found success with zombies, meth cookers and ‘60s advertising drama – didn’t manage to crack the code on TV. Currently Warner Bros. has the rights, and is looking to get another Sherlock Holmes-style blend of period drama and action up and running, with a script in hand by Michael Gilio.
Still, given their successful leap from the animated likes of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs to live action with Jump Street, we’re definitely interested in what Lord and Miller might make of this. They’re currently fielding various offers while also working on a CG Lego movie for Warners. Watch this space for more as we get it.