Barry Sonnenfeld has signed on to direct a feature adaptation based on James “The Amazing’ Randi’s” Project Alpha, a real-life story that appeared in the feature documentary An Honest Liar. The project is currently in development. Justin Weinstein’s and Tyler Measom’s An Honest Liar is based on the life of psychic fake and debunker The Amazing Randi. Project Alpha was a ruse done by “Randi” along with Steve Shaw (known as Banachek) and Michael Edwards who auditioned for and then participated as “psychics” in a paranormal research project led by a team who truly believed that the two had psychic abilities.
The testing of the two “psychics” included spoon bending, blowing fuses and moving objects in a sealed transparent container. The project went on for two years, beginning in 1979, until they revealed it as a hoax publicly in a press conference via Discover Magazine.
Sonnenfeld said he sought out the filmmakers after watching An Honest Liar at Telluride Mountainfilm after being fascinated by Randi playing the behind-the-scenes hoaxster.
Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Get Shorty) is currently in pre-production, directing Kevin Spacey in Nine Lives, a comedy about a man who becomes entrapped in the body of a cat.
Project Alpha will be produced by Measom and Weinstein. Their film An Honest Liar had its world premiere last year at the Tribeca Film Festival.