Renowned magician and actor John Calvert has passed away. He was 102. Mr. Calvert was famous for his sawing-the-lady-in-half trick, using an audience member as the sawee, and for starring in the Falcon movies as Michael Watling ("The Falcon"). He also made several other films, and appeared in Are These Our Parents? and Bombadier in roles as a magician. Here's more from the Los Angeles Times.
Johnny Depp has joined the ranks of those Hollywood stars planning a movie about magicians. His venture is based on Myron Levoy's young adult novel The Magical Hat of Mortimer Wintergreen (Mortimer Wintergreen is the conjuror). Apparently the hat, in the possession of a stage magician/con man, does all sorts of wonderful things. Sounds sort of like the Hogwarts hat, except that Mortimer's hat appears in 1987 or 1988 and the first Harry Potter novel came out in 1997. The novel's protagonists are two youngsters who live on a boring farm in South Dakota and want to escape from their mean aunt Vootch. Hmmm. Maybe she's mean because she lives on a boring farm in South Dakota, has two snarky kids to take care of and her name is Vootch. Anybody think of that?
I wonder who will create the special effects. There have to be special effects! More here in an article from The Hollywood Reporter, here from IMDB.com.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller ("21 Jump Street") are trying to bring "Carter Beats the Devil" to the big screen. Tom Cruise was interested in this project some time ago, but his option apparently lapsed and so did the film. Now, still snoozing at Warner Brothers, the movie project has caught the attention of Mr. Lord and Mr. Miller, whose film "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" was a huge success in 2009. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.
Warner Brothers is apparently giving the go-ahead to an adaptation of the "Mandrake the Magician" comic strip, according to this story from the Hollywood Reporter. So, who will play the title role? And who will provide technical expertise?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, both Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network") and Jake Gyllenhaal ("Rendition") may star in the new "magician heist" film, "Now You See Me," being directed by Louis Leterrier and backed by Summit Entertainment ("The Beaver," "50/50"). Producers are Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ("Star Trek"). The premise seems to be that the "world class illusionists" in the film steal from banks and enrich their audiences (and themselves?); the FBI then takes them on. (Hmmm. Didn't we already see this plot--sounds familiar--sort of Robin Hood-ish. Never mind). It could be a lot of fun if the illusions are good and the writing is clever. I wonder who the magic consultant(s) will be?
From The Hollywood Reporter, news about the new film The Great Magician , from Emperor Motion Pictures, which stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai, a "master illusionist in the 1900s who gets the girl and saves his country with his magic tricks." The movie, directed by Derek Yee, is currently in production.