It's been more than a year since we first noticed the half-dozen or so projects about Harry Houdini that were in the works—a passing fancy that seemed to have been replaced with competing Frankensteins and movies where the apocalypse is totally fun. But that was all an illusion, as Summit Entertainment is close to hiring recently resigned Hunger Games director Gary Ross to conjure its own Houdini project, proving that its avowal to keep him in the family wasn't just smoke and mirrors. You might even say that they pulled this out of a hat for him, because their Houdini movie has not yet escaped from the padlocked chains of franchise expectation. Or something. There is still plenty of interest in a Harry Houdini movie, if you catch our drift.
Not surprisingly, Ross' Houdini is one of the more fanciful Houdini tales currently being considered. As reported earlier, it's based on the book The Secret Life Of Houdini: The Making Of America's First Superhero and its proposition that Houdini led a double life as a spy for Britain, the Secret Service, and assorted police organizations, presumably by stuffing himself inside of things—an unusual premise that would form the basis of the very usual "part Sherlock Holmes and part Indiana Jones"-style action thriller Summit hopes to make. Anyway it's not yet confirmed that Ross will take on Houdini next, though it seems likely that Summit might demand he make up for all the recent Hunger Games hassle by helping them get their own Houdini film out first. And coincidentally, one of those competing movies is attached to Ross' Hunger Games heir Francis Lawrence, so that may be extra incentive for Ross to beat it to the punch that would rupture its appendix until it contracted peritonitis and died, if you get what we mean.
On a related note, no buyers yet for our gritty, edgier feaure adaptation of Whodini's "Haunted House Of Rock." What's the problem?