The comprehensive tome, published in 2006 by Atria Books, became known for insinuating that Harry Houdini acted as a spy for Britain and was asked to be an adviser to Czar Nicholas II's court in prerevolutionary Russia. The book also portrayed the master escape artist and magician as a debunker of con artists who pretended to be spiritualists, leading to the controversial theory that Houdini’s death was caused by the spiritual movement as payback.
Being a fan of magic, one is almost required by law to be a fan of Harry Houdini. He was revolutionary in the art, craft, and science of stage magic and illusion and Hollywood has long sought to bring the magician to the big screen.
The most notable film about Houdini was 1953's "Houdini" with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. The film tried to show the life of the magician, but failed with several of the facts. I guess peritonitis is not a very "Hollywood" way to die so in the film, Houdini dies drowning in one of his escape routines.
The legend of the master magician has always been far more interesting than truth. It looks like The William Kalush book has generated some controversy regarding the whole "spy" thing and several professional magicians I know debate the validity of the book entirely.
According to THR, Summit doesn't want a biopic, but instead are aiming for this adaptation to be an action/thriller "featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes." Hollywood is more than happy to help blur that line between reality and bullshit a little further.
To check out the book before its hacked up and "Hollywoodized" for general consumption, go here or click on the link below.