Directing duo in talks for adaptation.

Heat Vision has learned that Phil Lord and Chris Miller (’21 Jump Street,’ ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’) are in talks with Warner Bros. for an adaptation of Glen David Gold’s 2001 historical mystery novel ‘Carter Beats the Devil.’

Adapted by Michael Gilio and set against the backdrop of early 20th-century San Francisco, the story centres on Charles Carter, real-life stage magician who performs a trick involving then-President Warren G. Harding. When the president is later found dead, Carter is forced to go on the run and clear his name. The plot also features various other historical figures, including Harry Houdini, television pioneer Philo Farnsworth and the Marx Brothers.

The long-gestating project was previously set up over at Paramount Pictures with Tom Cruise attached to star and produce. American cable network AMC (‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Breaking Bad’) played with the idea of adapting the novel for TV back in 2008, but its plans got stuck in development.