The studio has acquired motion picture rights to David Jaher’s book “The Witch of Lime Street: Seance, Seduction and Houdini in the Spirit World.” “Mama” director Andres Muschietti will develop, direct and produce the mystery thriller from a screenplay written by Jaher.
The film will also be produced by Barbara Muschietti.
The story chronicles the rivalry that simmered and grew more intense during the 1920s as Houdini — the most famous illusionist of the era — and a panel of investigative experts embarked on a quest to debunk Crandon.
Although the Roaring ’20s were best known for jazz and speakeasies, the loss of lives in World War I also led to efforts to communicate with the dead via self-proclaimed psychics. Houdini debunked fake spiritualists as frauds and charlatans by revealing their tricks.
“Quite a few producers and studios were pursuing rights to this book for very good reason,” said STX’s Oren Aviv. “This is a spellbinding and exciting true story that weaves a fantastic mystery and lots of intrigue with history involving some of the most renowned and iconic figures of the era. The timeless question: ‘Is there life after death?’ is explored through a scientific quest to investigate and validate supernatural phenomena.”
STX’s Sheroum Kim will oversee development of the project on behalf of the studio.
Two-year-old STX has released “The Gift” and “Secret in Their Eyes” as it seeks to fill what it sees as the need for mid-budget projects. Upcoming films include Matthew McConaughey’s “The Free State of Jones,” “Hardcore,” “Desierto,” interplanetary adventure “The Space Between Us” and the coming-of-age comedy “Besties.”