Water for Elephants director Francis Lawrence is in talks to direct a new biopic on magician Harry Houdini for Sony Pictures.

The studio has been looking to make the project for several years, with director Paul Verhoeven attached to direct the biopic back in the late 1990s. That version was said to take a deeper look into the illusionist's mysterious life. Sony will take a new direction now, while keeping the period setting.

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Jimmy Miller (The Other Guys, Bad Teacher) will produce for Mosaic Media Group. A screenwriter hasn't been attached yet.

We reported in February that Summit Entertainment is moving forward with its own Harry Houdini biopic entitled The Secret Life of Houdini. Noah Oppenheim is writing the script, based on the biography of the same name by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.