Carter Beats The Devil, Glen David Gold’s 2001 historical thriller novel about a famous stage magician who gets caught up in the events surrounding the death of President William G. Harding, has been optioned by Warner Brothers.
The news comes from Film School Rejects, who got the word from Gold himself after the site ran a story recently about how the book was prime material for a possible big screen adaptation. As the deal had just been signed this week, there are no additional details as to what, if any, scripters, producers or other production personnel have been attached to the project.
The book fictionalizes the life story of Charles Carter, whom no less than Harry Houdini gave the nickname “Carter The Great.” After he performs for President Harding, even bringing him up on to the stage to assist with a trick for the show’s finale. But when the President is found dead in his hotel room hours later, Carter comes under the scrutiny of a US Secret Service Agent. As the investigation unfolds, we are treated to flashbacks to Carter’s life, with him encountering historical personages from a pre-film career Marx Brothers to Houdini to BMW founder Max Friz to Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television.
The book has been optioned before, though nothing concrete ever got moving before the option lapsed. Perhaps Warner can perform the right magic to get it to the screen.