Harry_Houdini

 

Harry Houdini has the subject of much interest in Hollywood for the past couple of years, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at your local theater listings. We’ve barely heard a peep about Summit’s Houdini spy film since Dean Parisot entered talks to direct last summer, and DreamWorks doesn’t seem to have done much with Voices From the Dead since buying it in 2011.

Sony’s competing project doesn’t seem to be very far along, either, but it is at least moving. Chronicle scribe Max Landis has reportedly been tapped to do yet another rewrite of the screenplay. Hit the jump for the latest on the film

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Aaron Sorkin‘s new career as a librettist has been cancelled, or at least postponed. The in-demand writer has backed out of Houdini, the Broadway musical production that has Hugh Jackman attached to star as the world-famous magician. (Cue the escape artist jokes.) Jackman, composer Steven Schwartz (Wicked), director Jack O’Brien (Hairspray), and producers Scott Sanders and David Rockwell remain on board. Keep reading after the jump.

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For a while there, it seemed all but certain that The Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross would return for the sequel, Catching Fire. But that, of course, didn’t pan out, and with Francis Lawrence now firmly positioned in the director’s chair for that film, Ross is weighing a few different options for his next move.

Among other things, he’s just entered talks for Summit’s Houdini, an adaptation of William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s biography The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero. Ironically enough, this project could pit him against his Hunger Games successor Lawrence, who’s attached to Columbia’s unrelated Houdini project. More after the jump.

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That Hugh Jackman loves musicals and the theater isn’t a secret, so it’s not surprising that he’s set to make his return to Broadway in the 2013-2014 season. What makes this particular appearance extra special, however, is that he’ll be hitting the stage as the lead of Houdini, the librettist debut of Aaron Sorkin. (This is a completely separate project from the other Houdini, a film by director Francis Lawrence.) Three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien is slated to direct, with Stephen Schwartz writing the music. More details after the jump.

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Briefly: Another story that is the subject of several different development projects is the life of Harry Houdini. One movie that hopes to exploit his story is the Columbia project simply called Houdini, which for the past few months has had Francis Lawrence (Water For Elephants, I Am Legend) attached to direct. Last time we checked in there was no screenwriter attached, but that all changes now. Scott Frank has been hired to write. (He penned Out of Sight and Minority Report, among other films.)

THR has this news, but doesn’t offer any more significant detail about the project other than the fact that it has been kicking around Columbia in different forms for some time, and that Francis Lawrence and producer Jimmy Miller helped push it forward with their own ‘fresh take.’ What is that take? We don’t know. I love Houdini, and think he is truly one of the most fascinating figures from the turn of the century, but the competition to make a new film based on his life arouses no particular excitement. Mostly because I assume that, in the race to get one project done first, the only thing that will really matter is going to end up being just that: being first.

Though he probably won’t be cloning and killing himself every single night, Hugh Jackman could soon be portraying another type of risky entertainer. He’s set to star in a Broadway musical based on the life of Houdini written by Aaron Sorkin with music by Danny Elfman, lyrics by Glenn Slater and direction by Jack O’Brien. The first two names are huge one for film fans; Sorkin most recently wrote The Social Network and Danny Elfman really needs no introduction. The second two are certainly more stage guys; Slater did lyrics for The Little Mermaid and Love Never Dies, the Phantom of the Opera sequel, while O’Brien not only directed that show but the upcoming Catch Me If You Can adaptation too.

So when will Jackman hit the stage as the master escape artist? Even though the musical has been in the works for two years, it still might be a while. There’s more info after the jump. Read More »

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