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More Information on the Wave of "Oz" Films

It seems that every week brings forth new information about different film projects based on or inspired by L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz novels. has some additional details on some of them.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL: Centers around a young wizard charlatan who is part of a traveling circus but gets whisked away to Oz. Robert Downey Jr. is apparently at the top of the hit list when it comes to the role of the Wizard, while Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead) was is in talks to direct a Mitchell Kapner script, but now Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) could be the most likely man for the job. [Editor's Note: Sam Raimi is the newest name being talked about].

SURRENDER DOROTHY: While she was once attached to star in Surrender Dorothy, Drew Barrymore is now attached to direct the film that focuses on Dorothy's great, great granddaughter who has to learn how to use the power of those sparkling ruby red slippers to keep (a resurrected) Wicked Witch of the West from taking control of both Oz and now Earth. The film had its origins in 2002 from a script by Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) which apparently had the Witch faking her death in the original The Wizard of Oz and returning to seek revenge on Dorothy - via her distant relatives in present-day New York - and also regain the slippers.

OZ - RETURN TO THE EMERALD CITY: From a screenplay by Josh Olsen (A History of Violence), focuses on Dorothy Neill, a hot shot lawyer from Chicago. While her grandmother, Dorothy Gale - the original Dorothy - is content to sit back in Kansas and tell of her adventures in Oz, the younger Dorothy is herself whisked away to Oz (with her boss's kid who she is supposed to be baby-sitting), and must team up with her grannies' old friends, The Lion, The Tin Man and the Scarecrow, to stop a new and powerful witch.

WICKED: This has been slated for film treatment since early last year after its amazing success around the world - and may have taken a step forward recently. Based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Wicked focuses on the friendship between a young Wicked Witch of the West and a young Good Witch of the North and their ultimate falling out.

DOROTHY OF OZ: Long-time Walt Disney feature animator Daniel St Pierre is the man directing a film using state-of-the-art (whatever that is) 3D effects. It has Dorothy thrust back to Oz to try to restore order after a crazy, albeit powerful, Jester has taken control and Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow have gone missing. Martin Short is providing the voice of the Jester, Dan Aykroyd is the Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammar is the Tin Man and Jim Belushi is the Lion.

DARK OZ: Moves were afoot two years ago to bring the dark (obviously) and disturbed Caliber Comics series to life. A screenplay was penned from the original source creators Aaron Deneberg, Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr. The plan was to begin production at the end of 2008. Midway through 2010 we're still no closer to seeing Dark Oz on the big screen, but it could be worth the wait. Dark Oz focuses, again, on Dorothy's return to Oz, but it is a very different place than the one she left behind. Namely, with a new group of allies, she must try to defeat the Three Evil Kings of Oz ... the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Lion. Shock. Horror.
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