Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis is taking on the writing chores of Sony’s long-in-gestation Harry Houdini film Houdini. Interestingly, the Deadline report is stating that this story will have “an HP Lovecraft influence.”
There’s no further word as to what Deadline actually means by this, but in reality, there was indeed a connection between the escape artist and the horror-fantasy writer. Lovecraft’s editor at Weird Tales magazine hired the writer to ghostwrite a story that Houdini insisted was true in which he was kidnapped and taken to a secret chamber under the Egyptian pyramids where he met the ancient pagan god for which the stone edifices were built. Lovecraft thought that the story was malarkey and received permission from his editor to embellish the tale. Houdini reportedly liked what Lovecraft did with the end result, titled “Under The Pyramids,” so he hired the writer to ghostwrite several other stories and articles for him.
Of course, Landis could be going in an entirely different direction and may be looking to team up the two against one of the eldrich horrors that made up a bulk of Lovecraft’s work.
Sony has been working on developing a Houdini film for some time now. Previously, Scott Frank had been working on the script with Francis Lawrence attached. Things on the project cooled down after Lawrence left to direct The Hunger Games installments Catching Fire and the two-part Mockingjay.
And this isn’t the last of Landis we’ll be hearing of for a while, as the writer noted on twitter feed today that he still has a few more projects in the works that have yet to be announced.
IA! IA! CTHULU FHGTAGN! One of my three secret projects, announced! Can't wait for the next one to Go Go public.
— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) January 13, 2014