Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman will no longer star in the planned stage musical based on the life of Harry Houdini. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

First writer Aaron Sorkin left the project. Now its star, Hugh Jackman, has also departed.

The long-planned stage musical based on the life of Harry Houdini has lost its leading man, with Jackman withdrawing from the role. The Australian actor has cited scheduling difficulties, saying that he wasn't able to commit to the time that the part required.

In a statement sent out Monday, Scott Sanders, one of the show's producers, confirmed the actor's departure. "Hugh has been terrific to have on this part of our journey. We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team as they craft this ambitious new musical," said Sanders.

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Sorkin had been working on the book for the musical, which is still expected to feature music by Stephen Schwartz. But the Oscar-winning screenwriter and playwright has since departed the project, and has been replaced with playwright David Ives, whose most recent success was "Venus in Fur."

No opening date has been announced for the musical, though it is expected to open some time in the 2014-15 Broadway season. 

Born Erik Weisz in 1874, Houdini emigrated from Hungary to the U.S. as a boy. His magic career took off in 1899 and he became one of the most celebrated illusionists in the world.

The musical had been expected to focus on the period in the 1920s when Houdini set about trying debunk the field of mysticism. 

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