‘The Illusionist’ and ‘In Good Company’ Also Getting TV Series Adaptations

By October 15, 2014
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It seems like every single movie will be getting turned into a TV series. Following a failed attempt to turn Say Anything into a TV series, a new attempt at making Uncle Buck into a sitcom, a small screen version of Big, the promising revival of Minority Report, and a trio of female-led film franchises (Resident Evil, Underworld and The Mortal Instruments) all getting TV deals, we have two more feature films getting the small screen treatment.

First up, Deadline reports The CW is currently working on turning the 2006 romantic thriller The Illusionist into a TV series. For those who don’t remember, Edward Norton starred in the film that was somewhat overshadowed by Christopher Nolan’s magician-centric The Prestige that was released that same year. But the film, written and directed by Neil Burger and based on Steven Millhauser’s short story Eisenheim The Illusionist, stands on its own rather well.

While the original movie was set in Vienna in 1889, the TV series from Yari Film Group, Electus, and CBS TV Studios will move the action to New York at the turn of the century and follow a renowned illusionist who returns home from a decade in prison to find his wife married to the ruthless crime boss who framed him. The trickster goes undercover as a low level underground crime associate to infiltrate the organization and use his cunning skills to pull off heists, climb the crime ladder, and take down the boss who has stolen his wife away.

Mark Hudis (of “True Blood”) will write the series after Ben Silverman came up with the idea to adapt the film in the first place. The premise sounds engaging enough, like “Boardwalk Empire” with magic tricks, but we’ll see if it turns out to be any good, especially since The CW is a mixed bag when it comes to quality TV programming.

In Good Company

The other feature film getting a TV series truly seems like overkill as Variety reports the romantic comedy In Good Company will hit the flickering box thanks to CBS. The 2004 film was directed by Paul Weitz, who co-wrote the film with his brother Chris Weitz, and it starred Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, and Dennis Quaid.

For those who don’t remember, the film followed a middle-aged exec who has to contend with a new boss who is half his age and also ends up dating his daughter. The story sounds perfectly fine for TV, but I’m not sure why this needs to be an adaptation of the feature film as opposed to just a new TV series. Does CBS really think it will be getting audiences clamoring for a small screen adaptation of this mostly forgotten romantic comedy? It just seems unnecessary.

Anyway, “Happy Endings” writers Josh Bycel and Jon Fenner will script the series along with Paul Weitz, and if it ends up going to series, it will be a hybrid multi-camera and single-camera show. Hopefully that means there won’t need to be a live audience and ridiculous overacting involved, which is something that is currently killing “Mulaney.”

We’re betting this isn’t the last we’ll hear of a movie getting a TV series, so stay tuned to see what else gets recycled in the coming days.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.