Johnny Depp was once box-office gold, but has seen his star shine a little less brightly in recent years, with flops like Transcendence , The Lone Ranger, and Dark Shadows tarnishing his reputation as one of Hollywood’s safe bets at the box office. It appears that Johnny Depp is hoping his latest attempt at an action adventure franchise will bring him back to his Jack Sparrow glory days. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that Depp is in negotiations to star as world famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini in Lionsgate/Summit’s The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero. Dean Parisot, who directed Red 2, is set to helm this one. The hope, of course, is for this to become the start of a new franchise.
To call a real historical figure like Harry Houdini a superhero is somewhat dubious; while there is no doubt that Houdini was the greatest escape artist of all time, not to mention someone who made it a point to debunk superstitious beliefs throughout his life, any notions of him as a secret agent or adventurer are speculative fiction and nothing more. Still, a movie where Harry Houdini as a sort of Indiana Jones type is almost too good of an idea to pass up, so I can hardly blame Hollywood for doing it.
Johnny Depp has a pretty full slate of movies coming up in the next few years, mostly banking on old hits; he is reprising his role as the Mad Hatter in the sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, called Through the Looking Glass, and is set to go back to the Pirates of the Caribbean well one more time with a fifth turn as Captain Jack Sparrow. All this after he finishes shooting his current role as gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. No doubt he’s hoping playing Bulger and now Houdini will come to the rescue and help revive his career.