Gary Ross may have left Summit without a director for Catching Fire, and he may look the archetype of Guy Mom Is Dating Who Wants To Be Your Pal, but the studio doesn't seem to be holding it against the guy. According to THR, Summit has already in talks with the Seabiscuit director to take on Houdini.
Ross will be directing from--and most-likely re-writing, if I know the writer of Mr. Baseball--a script most recently drafted by Noah Oppenheim and based on William Kalush and Larry Sloman's biography, The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America's First Superhero. As that title implies, the 2006 book spins the life of the escape artist into something like Chuck Barris's autobiography, claiming Houdini was a British spy who secretly worked for the Secret Service and various police organizations. Summit's hope is to adapt it into "an action-thriller franchise featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes" and part man chained up in his underwear for the entertainment of the masses, one would hope. For historical accuracy's sake.
A similar Houdini project is also in the works at Columbia with director Francis Lawrence--the very man who took over the Catching Fire job when Ross departed the Hunger Games franchise. It's "a twist that a magician would love," claims the Hollywood Reporter story! Or maybe it's just a coincidence, like the coincidence that the lives of both Houdini and Leonardo Da Vinci are being re-written into workable alternatives to another National Treasure movie.
It is not yet clear if Houdini will be Ross's next project, so hope remains for Seabiscuit 2: Biscuitball.