Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody will star in a miniseries about the life of legendary illusionist Harry Houdini. The two-part television event, entitled Houdini, will air on the History Channel Sept. 1 and 2. Although he died almost 90 years ago, Houdini remains the most famous illusionist of all time, and he continues to be a popular figure among illusionists and magic fans everywhere.
In addition to chronicling his rise from poverty to worldwide fame, the biographical drama also explores Houdini’s involvement with espionage, his battles with spiritualists, and his experiences with iconic figures of his time, including U.S. presidents and novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Starring as Houdini’s wife Bess is actress Kristen Connolly, whose most recent work includes the TV series House of Cards. The character list reads like a who’s who of early 20th century international politics. Hungarian actor Gyula Mesterházy (The Borgias) is cast as Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Also from The Borgias, Simon Nader plays the ill-fated Tsar Nicholas II. Iván Kamarás, best known for the feature film World War Z, portrays one of the most interesting characters in the project, the controversial Russian faith healer turned government adviser Grigori Rasputin.
The screenplay was created by Star Trek writer Nicholas Meyer. Both episodes of the miniseries were directed by German-born filmmaker Uli Edel, who has a number of TV movies to his credit, including The Mists of Avalon and Evil Never Dies.