Harry Houdini has fascinated Hollywood for years and various film projects based on his life are in development around town at Sony and Summit. Now STX Entertainment has entered the mix by acquiring the motion picture rights to David Jaher’s The Witch Of Lime Street: Seance, Seduction And Houdini In The Spirit World, which delves into his quest to debunk Margery Crandon, who was considered to be one of the most gifted and accurate psychic mediums of the era. She was known as the Witch of Lime Street.
This is one of three projects known to be in development for a feature about Houdini, although the others seem to look at Houdini from a different standpoint — one is at Summit is based on the book by William Kalush and Larry Sloman entitiled The Secret Life Of Houdini: The Making Of America’s First Superhero. The other looking at the life of Houdini is at Sony with producer Jimmy Miller so it makes sense that TriStar was also interested in the book.
The book that STX picked up is inspired by real events as Houdini was famously known as passionate about debunking various psychics who he believed preyed on innocent people. In fact, he would — time and time again — prove fake spiritualists by revealing tricks of the trade.
Andres Muschietti (Mama) will develop, direct and produce the mystery thriller from a screenplay written by Jaher. The film will also be produced by Barbara Muschietti.
The film, set in post war 1920s, will center around the escalating rivalry with Crandon, a woman who was considered to be the only real medium in New York City. Houdini meets his match with Crandon as he goes against dark forces.
“Quite a few producers and studios were pursuing rights to this book for very good reason,” said Oren Aviv, President and Chief Content Officer for STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group. “This is a spellbinding and exciting true story that weaves a fantastic mystery and lots of intrigue with history involving some of the most renowned and iconic figures of the era. The timeless question: ‘Is there life after death?’ is explored through a scientific quest to investigate and validate supernatural phenomena. Ultimately the film leads to an epic showdown and otherworldly confrontation as the world renowned occult master Harry Houdini takes on the world’s greatest psychic Margery Crandon.”
STX Entertainment’s Vice President of Production Sheroum Kim will oversee development of the project on behalf of the studio.