BREAKING: Since Gary Ross dropped out of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, he kicked the tires on a bunch of projects. He has now firmed up the Disney film Peter And The Starcatchers as his next directing vehicle. Ross has lost interest in directing The Secret Life Of Houdini, a project that Summit Entertainment is putting together. They never got as far as making a deal with Ross.
Ross is squarely focused on Disney’s adaptation of the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and the studio is waiting for a new draft of the Jesse Wigutow script that is scheduled to be delivered in October. The film hasn’t been budgeted, but Ross hopes to direct it as his next film as quickly as possible in 2013. The film is in spirit a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, a fantasy pirate adventure full that starts when Peter leads a group of orphaned boys sent to work as servants for King Zarboff. He winds up on a ship with Molly, who intrigues him with a story of how she is an apprentice Starcatcher, a group that collects “starstuff” that falls to Earth and gives power to those who find it. They must keep it away from the pirate Black Stache, as well as the king. The tale was already turned into a Broadway production.
A Ross commitment puts Disney into what just might be the only major fairy tale the studio isn’t making a revisionist movie of, and it also puts them in competition with Sony, which has Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor attached to Neverland, a Pan pic scripted by Billy Ray and produced by Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin, and Joe Roth and Palek Patel.
Ross’s The Hunger Games grossed $685 million worldwide and is flying off shelves in the just released DVD. He’s repped by CAA. He dropped out of making the sequel because Lionsgate insisted on moving at an accelerated pace he wasn’t comfortable with.