In 2008 Variety reported the horrible prospect of CGI version of "The Wizard of Oz," directed by John Boorman. That’s right: the man who directed “Deliverance.” Hey, Scarecrow, that’s a purty mouth you got there.in 2009 this imdb news page said  a live remake was due. Dakota Fanning would play the role of Dorothy, and "the next installment will take a step back from the musical genre and become 'darker and more action packed.'” Because that’s what people hated about the original Oz: all those songs, and those wimpy flying monkeys. If they’d torn people to bloody bits, now that would be entertainment.

 

Well: A few days ago at PopCrush we noted that the next Bond movie would be held up, and that it was supposed to be directed by “American Beauty” helmer Sam Mendes. Now that he’s heel-cooling, as Variety might put it, he has time to take on something else - and he’s in the running for the Oz remake.

 

But take heart: Robert Downey Jr. would be the Wizard. (That's him on the right, in another ill-advised remake, "The Singing Detective.") Downey is immensely talented, and would bring a brittle-yet-soulful intelligence to the part. The old Wizard was a blowhard bumbler, a con-man; you can easily imagine Downey as a grifter who ended up as King, trying to find a way to satisfy the gullible Oz residents’ need for a mystical, capricious father figure while attempting to make his rule humane.

 

But who will play the Scarecrow? EDDIE MURPHY! Just - kidding. Relax. This isn’t an Oz remake after all. It’s a prequel, telling how Professor Marvel ended up as the Man Behind the Curtain. That’s a good story. That I would pay to see.

 

Will Downey wear the coat worn by Frank Morgan, who played the character in the 1939 movie? I’d like to think so. It would keep alive a most amazing tale.

 

So, don’t worry about “The Wizard of Oz” being sullied with needless remakes!

 

Just kidding. 

All Baum's 14 stories about Oz are now out of copyright, meaning that anyone with the means to shoot a movie is free to pilfer from them.

 

Two CGI animated versions – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy of Oz (based on a 1989 novel by Baum's great-grandson Roger S Baum) – are waiting in the wings, while Pearry Teo is planning an adaptation of the Calibre Comics series Oz. Warner Bros is also reportedly considering giving the green light to two more versions.

 

There is also another, entirely separate project in pre-production: The Witches of Oz, based loosely upon the Oz series, the story is set in modern day New York. In it, a grown-up Dorothy Gale, now a successful children's book author, learns that her popular books are based on repressed childhood memories.

Oz-tastic.

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