DreamWorks have purchased Voices from the Dead, an original script from J. Michael Straczynski, in which magician Harry Houdini teams up with Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in an effort to solve murders in 1920s New York.
The story comes from THR.
Houdini and Doyle were real-life friends around 1920, and were at opposing ends of belief in Spiritualism – Doyle believed in the existence of the supernatural (even claiming Houdini had supernatural powers in his book The Edge of the Unknown), and Houdini firmly held that there was no such thing. That could set up an interesting dynamic for a movie team-up, as long as the roles are cast well.
Straczynski previously penned the screenplay for 2008’s Clint Eastwood-directed Changeling, which was amazing. In the past he has written for various TV shows, animated and live-action, including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Twilight Zone, The Real Ghostbusters and Babylon 5. At the moment he is working on a Silver Surfer screenplay for Marvel. Quite an eclectic collection.
We don’t know much about the story for Voices from the Dead, aside from the basic concept of Houdini and Doyle teaming up with a psychic to solve strange murders in New York. Which you read above.
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for this sort of alternate universe thing, especially when they combine famous or fictional figures from years past (I’m about to start reading Volume II of Alan Moore’s fantastic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and am also reading Carter Beats the Devil, a tale about another 1920s magician, in which Houdini appears). I just hope that Straczynski’s screenplay is great, is handled well, and that we’ll get a good film out of this. Any thoughts on who should play the two leads?