Pearce lives for 'Death' in Houdini drama

Guy Pearce has signed to star in the Houdini drama “Death Defying Acts,” with Rachel Weisz in negotiations to co-star as the magician’s mistress.

Based on true events during the escape artist Harry Houdini’s 1926 tour of Britain, pic follows Houdini’s passionate relationship with a woman he encounters in Scotland.

Pic will be directed by Gillian Armstrong and was written by Tony Grisoni (“Tideland”) and Brian Ward (“The Interpreter”).

Pearce’s credits include “Memento” and “L.A. Confidential.” Weisz recently starred in “Constantine” and will appear next in “The Fountain.”

Financing for the pic has been secured through the Australian Film Finance Corp., Germany’s Cinemakers Finance, Britain’s Scion Films and Myriad Pictures.

The Oz/U.K. project will be produced by Chris Curling from Zephyr Films and Marian MacGowan of MacGowan Film. Kirk D’Amico will exec produce “Death Defying Acts” alongside Dan Lupovitz and Marcia Nasatir. It starts shooting early in 2006. Myriad handles worldwide sales.

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