Houdini star Adrien Brody wanted to make sure he did “justice” to the legendary illusionist when he signed on for the History Channel miniseries.
The first part of the cable network’s look into the life and career of Harry Houdini debuted on Labor Day, snagging approximately 3.7 million viewers in the process. The miniseries was definitely a bit more popular than Lifetime’s Saved by the Bell biopic; the tell-all based on Dustin Diamond’s memoir only pulled in around 1.6 million viewers.
Part of Houdini’s success lies in Adrien Brody’s performance. The King Kong star was officially tasked with bringing the illusionist to life on the small screen. During his recent chat with the Los Angeles Times, the star said he wanted nothing more than to tell Harry Houdini’s story as accurately and as faithfully as possible.
Brody clearly had no trouble explaining how he wanted to tackle the character.
“I wanted to convey the truth of an illusion, an understanding of the man, the complexity of the motivations behind him, the youthful sincerity he possessed and the cynical exhausted state that he subjected himself to.”
Writer Nicholas Meyer was also dedicated to doing Harry Houdini “justice.”
“I wanted to do justice to the spectacular character of this man’s life while at the same time feathering in some attempts to psychologically interpret what his motives were.”
Was Brody and Meyer’s dedication to Houdini a blazing success? Judging from some of the reviews for the History Channel’s latest miniseries, the production isn’t without its fair share of problems. Entertainment Weekly writer Darren Franich didn’t hate Houdini, but it’s clear he had quite a few issues with the series.
“The result is a grab-bag of biopic clichés, awkwardly strung together by star Adrien Brody’s narration. Brody sounds like he’s auditioning for any of the parts in ‘Sin City 3,’ and he overcooks every half-baked line into pure cheesecake: ‘The one thing I can’t seem to escape from… is me.’ Or: ‘Some things can hit you in the gut worse than any punch.’ Or, I kid you not, about three minutes later: ‘The only thing more devastating than a punch to the gut… is an arrow through the heart.'”
Matthew Gilbert over at the Boston Globe also had some complaints.
“It’s a boilerplate biopic that fails to deliver any sense of intimacy with Harry Houdini, as it skips among Houdini’s major life events with an abundance of clunky expositional dialogue and a painfully heavy-handed voice-over.”
Did you catch Houdini on the History Channel? Do you feel the cast and crew did justice to the legendary illusionist? Let us know in the comments.
[Lead image via The History Channel]