Johnny Depp is in early talks to star as Harry Houdini in Lionsgate’s “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero.”

If the deal closes, Depp’s producing partner Christi Dembrowski will produce through their Infinitum Nihil banner along with Frank Marshall and Bruce Cohen.

The project is based on the 2007 biography by William Kalush and Larry Sloman that traces the life of Houdini from poverty to wordwide fame, providing details into the magician’s increasingly dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy and a plot to subvert his legacy. Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.

Dean Parisot, director of Lionsgate’s “Red 2,” is on board to helm. Noah Oppenheim (“The Maze Runner”) has written the adaptation.

Lionsgate has dated Depp’s action comedy “Mortdecai” for a Feb. 6 U.S. release. In that film, Depp’s title character is in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Depp is also producing with longtime producing partner Dembrowski and Andrew Lazar.

Depp is also in production on the untitled Whitey Bulger biopic, currently shooting in Boston with Scott Cooper directing. His most recent film, “Transcendence,” has been a disappointment with worldwide grosses at $75 million.

Depp is repped by UTA.