Knocking around Hollywood for over a decade, the WWII drama “The War Magician” has done its best not to get made. Peter Weir and Marc Forster were attached at various points, but all the pieces never fell into place. Now, the producers will try going the other way around, putting the lead actor on the project first instead.
Variety reports that Benedict Cumberbatch will lead the movie. Gary Whitta (“The Book Of Eli,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story“) will pen a new draft of the script that will be based on the best-selling book by David Fisher, which details magician Jasper Maskelyne’s war efforts, which included creating fake bomb holes to fool Germans into thinking they hit their targets, and elaborate stage productions that worked as cover for espionage missions. Here’s the book synopsis:
Jasper Maskelyne was a world famous magician and illusionist in the 1930s. When war broke out, he volunteered his services to the British Army and was sent to Egypt where the desert war had just begun. He used his skills to save the vital port of Alexandria from German bombers and to ‘hide’ the Suez Canal from them. He invented all sorts of camouflage methods to make trucks look like tanks and vice versa. On Malta he developed ‘the world’s first portable holes’: fake bomb craters used to fool the Germans into thinking they had hit their targets. His war culminated in the brilliant deception plan that won the Battle of El Alamein: the creation of an entire dummy army in the middle of the desert.
Producers are looking to shoot the movie in Europe and the Middle East — but before that can happen, they need to find a director. Any suggestions? Let us know in the comments section.