'Hunger Games'' Gary Ross in Talks to Direct Summit's 'Houdini' (Exclusive)

On the Set: "Hunger Games"
<p>Filmmaker Gary Ross has learned from the masters and compares the tobacco factory where his own film was shot to Stanley Kubrick&#39;s &quot;The Shining.&quot;</p>   |   Murray Close/Lionsgate
With "Catching Fire" off his plate, the Oscar nominee is negotiating to take on a film about the famous magician.

Gary Ross, fresh off his wildly successful adaptation of The Hunger Games, is in negotiations to direct Houdini for Summit.

The project is an adaptation of The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America's First Superhero, a biography of Harry Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.

The tome, published in 2006 by Atria Books, became known for insinuating that the master magician and premier escape artist acted as a spy for Britain, helped the Secret Service and was in cahoots with police organizations. Summit picked up feature-film rights to the book in March 2009 with the aim of launching an action-thriller franchise featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes.

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Noah Oppenheim wrote the most recent draft of the script.

Ross is known for being choosy when it comes picking directing vehicles; he previously helmed 1998’s Pleasantville and 2003’s Seabiscuit before tackling Hunger Games, which has grossed more than $600 million worldwide.

Ross caused waves when he opted to bow out of directing the sequel, Catching Fire, which now will be directed by Francis Lawrence. In a twist that a magician would love, Lawrence is attached to his own Houdini project that is set up at Columbia.

A source says it has not been determined whether Houdini will be Ross' next project.

Ross is repped by CAA and Jackoway Tyerman.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit


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