Dreamworks Hear VOICES FROM THE DEAD, Houdini & Doyle Investigate...

The X-Files was among the most successful television programmes ever made. Based on certain strands of mythology in Ufology and other supposed paranormal phenomena, at its heart was the relationship between €œthe believer€- Special Agent Fox Mulder- and €œthe sceptic€- Special Agent Dana Scully- it became synonymous with the 1990s and helped inspire a rebirth in interest in all manner of conspiracy theories, from the intriguing to the outright barmy. Some fifteen years later, it appears that the prolific American screenwriter, J. Michael Straczynski, is keen to relive a similar relationship from history- that of illusionist, Harry Houdini, and author, Arthur Conan Doyle. In Straczynski€™s new script, Voices from the Dead, the one-time friends are charged with solving a murder case in New York City with the help of a psychic. Now, while this may seem more than a little far-fetched, Doyle did indeed investigate crimes in his day- his efforts freed two innocent men- as well as being deeply involved in- and convinced of- spiritualism. Houdini, conversely, spent a great deal of his time investigating the fraudulent methods of the psychic€™s, and it was this that ultimately ended the friendship of the two men. Straczynski is riding a big screen high at the moment having scripted the, broadly speaking, well received The Changeling and the cultish Ninja Assassin, after a long and respected career on numerous television writing teams. Though it is unknown, thus far, who will be charged with directing or production duties at this stage, the script has been picked up by Dreamworks, apparently with a view to beginning pre-production towards the end of the year. The news, perhaps, implies a future trend in revisionist tales about 19th century authors as it will follow a film about Edgar Allan Poe starring John Cusack, in which he too is made the unlikely investigator of a murder mystery.
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