Gary Ross Firms Up PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS as His Next Project, Drops HOUDINI

     August 20, 2012

gary-ross-peter-and-the-starcatchers

Though it was sad to see Gary Ross leave the Hunger Games franchise after only one film, I was excited to see what the director would choose as his follow-up in the wake of the massive success of that franchise-starter.  He circled a few projects, including the adventure film The Secret Life of Houdini and a Peter Pan prequel called Peter and the Starcatchers, and it now appears that Ross has settled on the latter as his post-Hunger Games directorial project.  Hit the jump for more.

peter-and-the-starcatchers-book-coverPer Deadline, Ross has now firmed up Disney’s Peter and the Starcatchers as his next film.  The pic is an adaptation of the childrens novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and follows ““a young Peter who befriends Molly, a shipmate he meets on the Never Land ship headed towards King Zarboff. Molly tells Peter of a mysterious trunk filled with magical starstuff that must remain out of the hands of the pirate Black Stache (who will lose his hand and become Captain Hook). Together Peter and Molly lead an effort to recover the trunk, which takes them on a treacherous journey.”

Ross is waiting on a new draft of the script by Jesse Wigutow that’s scheduled to be turned in this October, but he’s keen on directing the project as quickly as possible in 2013.  The pic has already been budgeted so it’s well on its way to pre-production.  The adventure story is the kind of ambitious material that I hoped Ross would tackle post-Hunger Games, and his strong focus on character and story should suit the material well.  As for Houdini, Deadline notes that Ross has “lost interest” in that project.  The director never got as far as making a deal with Summit to bring the magician story to the screen.

Peter and the Starcatchers isn’t the only Peter Pan project in the works, as Sony is working on a film called Neverland with director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) and producer Channing Tatum.  No word on how close that project is to production, but I’d imagine that with Ross firmly onboard, Disney won’t hesitate to get Peter and the Starcatchers in front of cameras.

Read the synopsis for the novel below:

Don’t even think of starting this book unless you’re sitting in a comfortable chair and have lots of time. A fast-paced, impossible-to-put-down adventure awaits as the young orphan Peter and his mates are dispatched to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They set sail aboard the NeverLand, a ship carrying a precious and mysterious trunk in its cargo hold, and the journey quickly becomes fraught with excitement and danger.

Discover richly developed characters in the sweet but sophisticated Molly, the scary but familiar Black Stache, and the fearless Peter. Treacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.

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