A new take on the various L. Frank Baum books from which “The Wizard of Oz” tale was born will be explored by Warner Bros., according to Variety. Baum created a total of 15 stories that surround the Oz legacy.
Village Roadshow Pictures will team up with Warner Bros. by taking an idea hatched by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and screenwriter Josh Olson. The former will produce while the latter will create a script.
This has been a project in the works for quite some time but now it can go full steam ahead since Warner purchased the rights to “Oz” from Ted Turner.
“McFarlane has a vision of Oz that is a dark, edgy and muscular PG-13, without a singing Munchkin in sight,” wrote journalist Michael Fleming. “That was clear with a toy line he launched several years ago that featured a buxom Dorothy and Toto re-imagined as an over-sized snarling warthog.
Olson’s vision is of a bit tamer PG movie and hopefully the two can find some middle ground of compromise that will please them both and not hurt the final product.
“I saw those toys, and Dorothy as some bondage queen isn’t something I want to do,” Olson told Fleming. “The appealing thing about the Baum books to me is how wildly imaginative they are. There are crazy characters from amazing places. I want this to be “Harry Potter” dark, not “Seven” dark.”
“My pitch was ‘How do we get people who went to “Lord of the Rings” to embrace this?’ ” McFarlane said. “I want to create [an interpretation] that has a 2007 wow factor. You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley from “Alien” than a helpless singing girl.”
This being said, Olson does suggest that they won’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water and whatever is finally decided on will take the classic Judy Garland movie into account on some level that might make this new one feel a bit like a sequel.