One of the video segments that played during my theater’s “movie and show previews that are actually advertisements” montage before Guardians of the Galaxy was an in-depth look at the upcoming History channel miniseries Houdini. What stood out was that Adrien Brody was really passionate while talking about playing the titular magician, and he looked like he was really putting his best, Academy Award-winning effort into this role. That’s a welcome change, of course, for those of us who had the truly unfortunate experience of watching 2013’s InAPPropriate Comedy, because it’s still just baffling that a guy who was catapulted to the A-list as recently as 2002 was suddenly slumming it in a terrible sketch movie directed by the ShamWow guy*.
The difference might be that Brody claimed in the “interview” that he has always been fascinated by the story of Houdini’s rise to fame, and he wanted nothing more than to play the vaudeville star. The first trailer for Houdini looks pretty great, even if the words, “Go ahead, make me gay” are still haunting my brain. Kristen Connolly from House of Cards also stars as Houdini’s wife, Bess, and Pt. 1 of the miniseries debuts on Sept. 1.
*Fun fact time: In an interview with Howard Stern (7:45 mark), Tina Fey revealed that Brody was a terrible Saturday Night Live host, because he kept pushing his own “hilarious” jokes and sketch ideas on the stunned writing staff. For example, Brody thought that introducing musical guest Sean Paul like this was a good idea:
Brody also allegedly wanted to do a sketch featuring his character “Flirty Harry,” a police detective who spits out vulgar-yet-bland double entendres, but Fey and Co. simply weren’t having it. There’s a rumor that the reason that Brody teamed up with Vince Offer and agreed to do InAPPropriate Comedy was because, aside from being friends, he had a green light to be as “funny” and filthy as he wanted. I guess most of us simply didn’t get it.
** Also, in Brody’s defense, Detachment was a fantastic movie.