Ben Affleck is on board to star in Disney’s upcoming Harry Houdini movie, however not as the famous magician himself. Affleck will reportedly play a supporting character who is “some kind of agent” – according to SlashFilm – and may run in the same circles as Houdini.
Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) will direct the film, which will be based on on William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s book The Secret Life Of Houdini: The Making Of America’s First Superhero. The project has been in development for several years, and Trachtenberg actually agreed to direct when it was in the works at Lionsgate. It was then put into turnaround and set up at Disney.
Noah Oppenheim – who wrote Jackie, but was also President of NBC News in 2017 and attempted to stop Ronan Farrow‘s reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases – has written the script about the master illusionist, who also investigated the occult and was a big adventurer. Somehow Disney couldn’t get anybody else to write this screenplay?
There’s no word yet on who will actually play Houdini. Usually when it’s announced that a big name will star in a film revolving around a famous person, the actor is almost always playing the titular person. In this case Affleck is starring, but as someone else. So that’s a little odd.
Perhaps another star was on board to play Houdini, and the plan was to announce the involvement of both actors at the same time, only for the other actor to drop out last minute? Who knows. Playing Houdini should be a pretty sought after role though, so production likely won’t have much trouble finding another big name to join Affleck.
Affleck recently signed on to star in George Clooney‘s The Tender Bar, and he’s also working on a film about the making of Chinatown titled The Big Goodbye.