From Hunger Games to Houdini

So we all know now that Gary Ross, the man who helmed the Hunger Games, won’t be back for the next installment, Catching Fire. 

Francis Lawrence, who directed I Am Legend, will be taking over the reins because Fire is on a tight schedule, and Ross didn’t feel he had enough time to get it up and running in time for the November 2013 release date.

Reports also indicate that Ross has other, more personal projects he wants to take on instead, although it would seem insane to bail on such a big franchise as the Hunger Games, right?


Well, Ross is apparently his own man as a filmmaker, and he wants to make his own movies at his own pace.

Now reports are coming up about what he wants to helm instead, namely a biopic of the famed magician Houdini. We haven’t had a Houdini film in God knows how long, and it would certainly be interesting to see how today’s generation will take to his story, which will be brand new to a lot of people.


According to Cinema Blend and The Hollywood Reporter, this particular version of the Houdini story comes from the book by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, who was Howard Stern’s ghostwriter on Private Parts. This book claims that not only was he a legendary magician, he may also have been a spy as well.

This kind of thing is absolutely up Gary’s alley, and he can also deliver a terrific script for it, not to mention this is the kind of role Hollywood’s A-list acting elite will line up around the door to play. 

However, as you may have guessed by now, there are indeed two Houdini projects in the works set up at rival studios. But here’s the kicker – the second one, which is at Sony, has Francis Lawrence slated to direct! Could we have another Snow White situation where we have two Houdini movies going head to head at the theaters?!


Clearly, directing Catching Fire will keep Lawrence busy for some time, and Ross certainly takes his time making movies. (As Cinema Blend points out, his last film before Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, came out in 2003). So the question now is, will either of these movies appear, or will they vanish in a puff of smoke? Stay tuned…