Last month, we reported that The Hunger Games director Gary Ross backed out of making the sequel, Catching Fire. Today, the filmmaker has entered into negotiations to direct The Secret Life of Houdini for Summit Entertainment.

We haven't heard anything regarding this gestating project since last February, when screenwriter Noah Oppenheim signed on to adapt the biography The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.

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The book follows Harry Houdini's exploits as a world-famous magician, but also alleges he was working as a British spy at the same time. The studio is looking to launch a franchise behind this adaptation, by creating a character they see as a hybrid of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones.

It isn't known if The Secret Life of Houdini will be the director's next film, but it does set up an interesting competitive environment. We reported a few weeks back that Francis Lawrence stepped in to direct Catching Fire, although he also has a Harry Houdini connection. Last March, he became attached to direct Sony's biopic Houdini.