Unproduced and Unfinished Films

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Marcello Mastroianni
Country: Mini italy.gif Italy / Italian
Mini usa.gif USA / English

Several times there have been plans to carry Mandrake the Magician on to the screen. But the adaptation of the iconic newspaper comic strip never got beyond initial talks.


In 1963, Produzioni Cinematografiche Mediterranee - P.C.M., an Italian production company, mostly active during the sixties, had a Mandrake movie project.

Early August 1965 the Italian director Duccio Tessari (considered one of the fathers of spaghetti westerns) announced in a press release that he was going to England soon. To try to find an actor to cast Mandrake in his movie based on the adventures of the comic strip magician. Tessari wrote the script himself.

In 1969 Lee Falk copyrighted a 61 pages script for a Mandrake movie, "Mandrake and the Power Mystery".


While Fedrico Fellini shooting scenes for "Fellinis Roma" at Villa Borghese in 1971 Lee Falk came by for a visit. He was sent by Dino De Laurentiis, who was contriving to have Fellini direct a film about the famous magician of comics. Fellini did not succeed making a Mandrake movie, but he never gave up his hope to make a movie with the magician.

The director of French Vogue, Robert F. Caillé, offered Fellini the role as editor of the special issue of December 1972. Fellini made a homorous photography portfolio with Mandrake starring Marcello Mastroianni in the role of Mandrake and Claudia Cardinale as Narda.

In 1978 Alain Resnais said: "I once worked with Lee Falk on a film adaption of 'Mandrake the Magician,' but we never got very far, because we couldn't find the right cast," he recalls. "The character was a myth. The only actor I could think of was Ronald Colman. He would have been perfect for the part." (About 1973 when Lee Falk acted in the film "L'An 01" ?)

Alain Delon worked on a film project with himself as Mandrake and Cassius Clay as Lothar.

In an interview with Sergio Leone, who had a project on a Phantom movie (he started to write a screenplay and to scout locations), he declared that he would have liked to follow it with a Mandrake movie.


In 1980 Goldcrest Films (UK) and Neufeld-Davis Productions inc (US) worked on a film project, with Éric Rochat as producer and Julien Temple as director. They presented the project at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980. The screenplay was by Julien Temple, who imagined David Bowie in the lead.

Embassy Pictures picked up the idea, commissioning the screenplay by Temple. Embassy hired Michael Almereyda to do a complete rewrite in 1982. At the Chelsea Hotel in New York he rewrote the script from top to bottom in three weeks, but a new studio head dropped the project before a director was attached.

In 1984 the Goldcrest Film's project was magically underway again. Now it was budgeted at $14 million and with Tom Sternberg as producer. William Hjortsberg scripted the screenplay and Bob Swaim was to direct the film in fall 1985 starring Kevin Kline and Jeff Goldblum.

Late 80s Penta America worked on a project with Bruce Willis and Mike Tyson.

In the freewheeling 1987 autobiographical film "L'Intervista" with Fedrico Fellini, Mastroianni appears outside the office window dressed like Mandrake the Magician, waving a wand.


In 2002 Hyde Park Entertainment and Crusader Entertainment bought a Mandrake script written by Josh Oppenheimer and Tom Donnelly. This movie was to be produced by Ashok Armitraj and Howard Baldwin. Jonathan Rhys Meyers was originally on board the project as the title character with Chuck Russell announced as director. In 2009, Hayden Christensen replaced Rhys Meyers in the title role of the film, with Djimon Honsou co-starring and Mimi Leder directing.


Warner Bros announced that they are developing the film version of Mandrake. In June 2016, Sascha Baron Cohen was cast as Mandrake.


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