Hugh Jackman seems to have done a disappearing act when it comes to the upcoming Houdini musical. Producers for the show confirmed that Jackman pulled out of the lead role according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In a statement, Jackman shared his reason for bowing out stating, “I have greatly enjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini. Ultimately, though, I wasn’t able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best. I know they’re well on their way to making something extraordinary.”
Jackman’s exit from the production follows that of writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Newsroom) who was previously going to write the book for the show but withdrew in January citing scheduling conflicts, as reported by THR. Sorkin has since been replaced by David Ives (Venus in Fur).
Finding a replacement may come as a challenge considering that Academy Award and Grammy Award winning composer Stephen Schwartz tailored the role specifically for Jackman. Schwartz shared in an earlier statement “I’m specifically writing for Hugh, in terms of what I think will sound good in his voice and what sorts of things will really help him to do the things that he does. Where does he want to stretch himself? Where does he want to do something that he feels he has and we feel he has that he hasn’t really shown before?”
However, lead producer Scott Sanders has announced that the creative team is moving forward. He said of Jackman, “Hugh has been terrific to have on this part of the journey. We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team, as they craft this ambitious new musical.”