In development at Summit Entertainment for some time, Houdini appears to have found a director in The Hunger Games‘ Gary Ross. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Ross is currently negotiating to bring the story of the master magician to the big screen.
Based on the biography, “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero,” by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, the project previously had Jeff Nathanson attached to direct.
The comprehensive novel, published in 2006 by Atria Books, became known for insinuating that Harry Houdini acted as a spy for Britain and was asked to be an adviser to Czar Nicholas II’s court in pre-revolutionary Russia. The book also portrayed the master escape artist and magician as a debunker of con artists who pretended to be spiritualists, leading to the controversial theory that Houdini’s death was caused by the spiritual movement as payback.
In addition to The Hunger Games, Ross directed 1998’s Pleasantville and 2003’s Seabiscuit. Although he was expected to return to the Suzanne Collins franchise for Catching Fire, Ross officially dropped out of the project last month and the job went to Francis Lawrence instead.