Hugh Jackman is pulling a disappearing act, with the star of stage and screen withdrawing from the lead role in the upcoming Broadway musical Houdini.
The actor, best known for major Hollywood films such as the X-Men series and Les Misérables as well as for his theatre performances (The Boy from Oz, A Steady Rain, Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway), cited a busy schedule as the reason for his withdrawal.
"I have greatly enjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini," Jackman said in a statement.
"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."
Houdini, an original musical, is expected to explore the life and surprising death of the famed Hungarian-American illusionist, escape artist and stunt performer.
The Australian actor and Oscar-nominee Jackman had been unofficially attached to the project for years and confirmed he would portray the famed titular magician and escape artist in early 2012.
"Hugh has been terrific to have on this part of the journey," said lead producer Scott Sanders.
"We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team, as they craft this ambitious new musical."
Jackman isn't the only high-profile name the long-simmering project has lost. Hit composer Danny Elfman was once involved in the project and, in January, writer Aaron Sorkin dropped out — also due to scheduling conflicts. Houdini was to have been the noted film and TV screenwriter's debut as a librettist. Sorkin has been replaced by playwright David Ives, Tony Award-winner author of Venus in Fur.
Jack O'Brien (Hairspray) and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin) are on board to direct Houdini and compose its musical score, respectively.