STX Entertainment has acquired motion picture rights to David Jaher’s book “The Witch of Lime Street: Seance, Seduction and Houdini in the Spirit World” and hired “Mama” director Andres Muschietti to develop the mystery thriller, the company announced Tuesday.
Muschietti will direct and produce alongside his sister Barbara Muschietti, while Jaher has adapted his own book.
Inspired by real events, the story chronicles the thrilling rivalry that simmered and grew more intense and mysterious as Harry Houdini and a panel of investigative experts embarked on a quest to debunk the world’s most gifted and accurate psychic and spirit medium of the era, Margery Crandon, aka The Witch of Lime Street.
“The Witch of Lime Street” will be a supernatural film set in post-war 1920s about Houdini, the legendary magician and occult expert, and his escalating rivalry with Crandon, a woman who was considered to be the only real medium in New York City.
An era better known for its jazz and glamour than for its dark obsession with the occult, the loss of lives in World War I gave rise to an intense desire to communicate with the dead and spawned a rash of self-proclaimed psychics. Houdini made it his personal mission to debunk fake spiritualists as frauds and charlatans by revealing their tricks. But Houdini meets his match in an alluring high society flapper known to her many astonished followers as Margery, The Witch of Lime Street, pitting the brash illusionist against dark and dangerous forces of the underworld, with Margery his ultimate target.
“Quite a few producers and studios were pursuing rights to this book for very good reason,” said Oren Aviv, president and chief content officer for the STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group. “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. Ultimately the film leads to an epic showdown and otherworldly confrontation as the world renowned occult master Harry Houdini takes on the world’s greatest psychic Margery Crandon.”
STX Entertainment’s VP of production Sheroum Kim will oversee development of the project on behalf of the studio.