Sunday, April 26, 2009
MGM ANNOUNCES WIZARD OF OZ REMAKE FOR CHRISTMAS 2009..2010 UPDATE WITH NEW OZ NEWS
MGM ANNOUNCES WIZARD OF OZ REMAKE
September 21 2008
Hollywood, CA – MGM and Sony Pictures made a surprise announcement today, saying that a remake of the nearly seventy year old classic was in the works and is on track to coincide with the original film’s anniversary next year.
“MGM is proud to announce that we are deep into production on a remake of one of the most beloved film stories of all time. The Wizard of Oz is classic that generations have grown up on, and we feel that this is the right time to explore a new version so that all future generations will have a classic to grow up with,” said the company in a statement.
While no details were released, the company did say that the story would be updated to reflect a modern philosophy, eliminating the hope and wonder that the classic embodied “We live in different time than they did then. We live in a time of economic uncertainty and war, things they simply didn’t have to deal with in 1939. The new film will reflect our times while still speaking with the voice the original sang so beautifully with.”
Rumours about the supposed plot line has Dorothy propelled into the future by another unfortunate Tornado and dropped into modern day Kansas or possibly Iraq. ‘Taxi Driver’ scribe Paul Schrader has been tapped to write the screenplay; no director has yet been announced.
Rumours have already begun to swirl as to who will play Dorothy, with names such as Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Selma Blair, and Ellen Page topping the list.
“Deschanel isn’t famous enough, and Portman is a little too ethnic. Page would give that kind of hard edge they seem to be looking for, especially with Schrader scripting. I can see that as a real possibility,” said Scrape TV Entertainment analyst Tracey Temple. “It’ll be interesting to see who they get for the supporting roles. Willem Dafoe as the Tin Man? Deniro as The Cowardly Lion”
This of course will not be the first remake of the film, 1978’s ‘The Wiz’ was the first remake of the classic. MGM promises that the newest version will differ from that rendition as well.
“We’re not going to have any of that singing and dancing stuff. Some musicals have done well recently but we’re seeing this as a far more accessible film. We want as broad an appeal as possible and a musical just won’t allow for that.”
When reached for comment, screenwriter Schrader was mired in misery and self loathing and offered no comment. The film if scheduled for a Christmas 2009 release.
NEW 2010 WIZARD OF OZ MOVIE UPDATE...MARCH 9, 2010
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A new 'Wizard of Oz' could make its way down the Hollywood road
March 9, 2010 | 5:00 pm
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off Disney's massive success with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," Warner Bros. wants to remake another childhood classic. Like, really classic.
The studio is examining two existing "Wizard of Oz" projects, with an eye toward giving one of them a modern gloss and moving it toward the screen.
One project, called "Oz," currently lives at Warner's New Line label. It's being produced by Temple Hill, which is behind a little franchise called "Twilight," and has a script written by Darren Lemke, a writer on the upcoming "Shrek Forever After."
A second "Wizard of Oz" project, set up at Warners proper, skews a little darker -- it's written by "A History of Violence" screenwriter Josh Olson and focuses on a granddaughter of Dorothy who returns to Oz to fight evil. "Clash of the Titans" producer Basil Iwanyk and his Thunder Road Pictures are behind that one. ("Spawn" creator Todd MacFarlane is potentially involved in a producerial capacity, to give you some idea of the tone.)
While the idea of a new "Wizard of Oz" movie is said to be in the development, let's-bat-this-around stage, it's been advanced seriously enough on the lot that representatives for some of the top directors around Hollywood have been briefed.
The Judy Garland-starring "The Wizard of Oz" from 1939 -- we could give you the refresher on witches, tin men, Dorothy and everyone else, but really, do we need to? -- has been given alternative treatments before. There was the 1978 black-themed film adaptation of the stage play "The Wiz." And of course about six years ago came the Broadway adaptation of Gregory Maguire's "Wicked," an alternative story of girls, witches and Emerald City politics. The property proved a huge stage hit, prompting a film version that's in development at Universal and "Wanted" producer Marc Platt.
Audiences are likely to respond to the idea of a new silver screen "Wizard of Oz" with gusto ("at least the first one was good," said one colleague we told) or with horror, precisely because the original is such a classic.
But for Warners, there's plenty of appeal in trying to take the story of Dorothy & Co. back to the big screen. For one, there's the bonkers $210 million global opening for "Alice," which shows that if you're trying to create a mega-blockbuster, one smart way to do it is to take a title people know and update it for the effects era. And there's a neat symmetry, since the Technicolor version of the classic film did for color in the movies what a lot of people say that "Avatar," "Alice" -- and now, perhaps, "Wizard" -- could do for 3-D in the movies.
With its Harry Potter series drawing to an end, Warners also likes the idea of a franchise, and "Wizard of Oz" and the many books L. Frank Baum wrote featuring many of the same characters (all of which are in the public domain) fit the bill nicely. And let's not forget the property's strong, young female protagonist, hugely in vogue now in the post -Twilight" and -"Alice" eras.
There could still be questions about the project's title (the book's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is in the public domain but the movie's "The Wizard of Oz" is not; it's owned by MGM, whose library is partly owned by Warner Bros.). And then there's the matter of whether filmmakers would make the movie with musical elements, as the original, of course, did. Those questions aside, it could be the moneymaking formula.
Follow the yellow brick road. It's strewn with CGI, tent poles and 3-D. And, of course, a little green.
-- Steven Zeitchik