Norton conjures up 'Illusionist' role

Edward Norton has signed on to play the lead in helmer Neil Burger’s “The Illusionist,” a bigscreen adaptation of Steven Millhauser’s short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist.”

Skedded for an April start in Prague, pic is being produced by Bull’s Eye Entertainment’s Cathy Schulman and Bob Yari, Michael London Prods.’ Michael London and hyphenates Brian Koppelman and David Levien.

Norton plays a magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna who falls in love with a woman well above his social standing. When she becomes engaged to a prince, the magician uses his powers to win her back and undermine the stability of the royal house of Vienna.

Koppelman and Levien produced Burger’s first feature effort, “Interview With the Assassin.” The duo subsequently brought the “Illusionist” source material to Burger and Norton.

Producers describe pic as a highly stylized period piece. Distrib plan is not set.

Norton’s upcoming projects include indie pic “Down in the Valley,” with Evan Rachel Wood.

Bull’s Eye is one of five companies falling under the Yari Film Group umbrella. Its ensemble drama “Crash” bowed at the Toronto Film Festival and was acquired by Lions Gate Films.

London’s latest project, “Sideways,” in release through Fox Searchlight, notched seven Golden Globes nominations this year, the most for any film.

Koppelman and Levien are creators of new ESPN skein “Tilt.” They also are penning “The Untouchables: Capone Rising” for Paramount.

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