Having broken ratings records and scooped up awards with Kevin Costner’s “Hatfields & McCoys” last year, the History channel has greenlit another historical miniseries centered around a movie star. Adrien Brody will play the famous magician and escape artist of the title in “Houdini,” a four-house scripted miniseries that will look at Harry Houdini’s life from impoverished beginnings to global fame. The miniseries, which is being co-produced by Lionsgate and A+E Studios, will co-star Kristen Connolly (“House of Cards,” “Cabin in the Woods”) as Houdini’s wife Bess.
“It’s not magic that HISTORY has established a strong track record with its high-quality historical dramas from quality auspices,” said History’s Dirk Hoogstra in the announcement. “We’re excited to build on that tremendous momentum with ‘Houdini.’ The Great Harry Houdini is a fascinating man in history and I have no doubt that Adrien Brody will bring the magician’s riveting story to life for our audience.” “Since my childhood, when I dreamed of being a great magician, Harry Houdini has been one of my heroes,” Brody added. “His bravery and obsessive determination still fascinate me. Houdini mastered the art of escape — not only from physical chains, but from poverty and the social constraints of a humble immigrant origin. His life story appeals to the universal longing for acceptance with which we all can identify. To portray him is beyond an honor.”
“Houdini” is being written by Nicholas Meyer (“The Seven-Per-Cent Solution”) and directed by Uli Edel (“The Baader Meinhof Complex”). Gerald W. Abrams and Andras Hamori will serve as executive producers. The series will start production in the fall, and does not yet have a premiere date.
Guy Pearce most recently played Houdini in film, in Gillian Armstrong’s 2007 “Death Defying Acts.” Brody’s no stranger to playing historical figures himself — aside from the role as Wladyslaw Szpilman that won him an Oscar in “The Pianist,” in the past few years he’s managed to play Salvador Dalí (“Midnight in Paris”), Leonard Chess (“Cadillac Records”) and Manolete (“A Matador’s Mistress”).