Thanks to a short blurb in a Hollywood Reporter profile on former Warner Bros. executive and almost CEO Jeff Robinov, headlines started rolling in that Ben Affleck is attached to star in the long-simmering Houdini movie to be directed by Black Mirror‘s Dan Trachtenberg for Disney. However, there’s a catch: Affleck is not playing the famed magician. According to /Film, Affleck will play a “supporting character who is some kind of agent.” The film is based on the book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero and has bounced around Hollywood for years with Trachtenberg being the latest director attached to the project:
The book posits that Houdini was actually a secret agent who investigated the occult, and the pitch for the movie was that not only was the man a world-class magician and escape artist, but also “part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes.” When last we heard, the latest draft of the script was written by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner, Jackie). Trachtenberg has been attached to direct since 2016.
Lead role or not, Affleck’s participation could signal a career shift after personal upheaval, which coincided with the poor reception to Batman V Superman and Justice League. However, despite his candid remarks on how his time in the DC Comics world may have exacerbated his struggle with alcoholism, Affleck not only participated in reshoots for Zack Snyder’s director cut of Justice League, but he’ll be returning as Batman in the solo The Flash movie from It director Andy Muschietti.