Hayden Christensen set to conjure up Mandrake

Update: MTV Splash Page is reporting that Christensen's attachment is not true, according to Christensen's agent. The IMDB page for the movie still lists Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the lead. Stay tuned. It has been reported that Hayden Christensen is set to star in the big screen version of the old school comic strip Mandrake the Magician with Djimon Hounsou as his assistant Lothar. This is a project that has long been in the works. In fact, I met the director Michael Almereyda at the Hamptons Film Fest a few years ago and he said it was the first script he sold and it was set to be made with David Bowie in the early eighties. He said it wasn't made because legendary Paramount honcho Robert Evans said he hated the Mandrake script when he was growing up. Mandrake seemed to have some steam in the last couple of years with Jonathan Rhys Meyers set to play the suave escape artist (good casting). Somehow, that project never got anywhere. This latest series of casting seems a more resolute and optimistic note. Mimi Leder Deep Impact is apparently set to direct and there is even a "teaser" poster. The Omega Entertainment website had a short press release to go along with these announcements this week and it appears that there will be an attempt to modernize Mandrake and make him more of a hipster extreme sports guy than a tuxedoed entertainer: Jackson Mandrake lives life on the edge. Working as an underground magician and escapologist, his act has grown increasingly dangerous. Following a daring escape from an SUV that has been dropped out of an aeroplane at the Burning Man Festival, he is coerced by the CIA into breaking a deep-cover agent named Xi Shing Lung out of a maximum security jail. Hypnosis, contortion, distraction and technical wizardry all come into play as Mandrake breaks the agent out from the inside within a 24-hour deadline. But back on the outside, Mandrake learns that it was all a set-up. Xi is a CIA agent gone bad. He offers Mandrake the chance to join his crime ring. When Mandrake refuses, he's a marked man. He must escape his would-be-killers and also the real CIA who accuse him of being in league with Xi. His quest to clear his name leads him into all sorts of dangers, which he must overcome with daredevil escapes that require all his conjuring skills. And along the way, Mandrake is forced to confront his past and the girl he left behind... Christensen is a good choice for the role (it is surprising that he doen't get more consideration for superhero roles) and it is a good franchise possibility for the young actor. The original Mandrake comics are quite well-written and Mandrake is a surprisingly virile hero in the narratives. As with the re-born (and re-bourne) James Bond franchise, Mandrake will probably benefit from a nice dose of 21st century sensibility. Hayden Christensen set to conjure up Mandrake