Here’s yet another story about filmmakers teaming up to resurrect an old property that, by all accounts, did just fine for itself the first time around — but in this case, the possibilities are intriguing enough that we don’t even mind it’s a remake. According to Variety, Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn) will be working with screenwriter Josh Olson (A History of Violence) to produce what’s being called “a revisionist take” on The Wizard of Oz.
Should be interesting, no?
As some of you might recall, this isn’t technically McFarlane’s first trip down the yellow brick road — he launched a line of Oz toys a few years back that included a Dorothy that looked like…well, this:
But don’t freak out just yet, Oz fans. Olson’s vision for the project is a little less extreme. From the article:
“I saw those toys, and Dorothy as some bondage queen isn’t something I want to do…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.”
And McFarlane agrees:
“My pitch was ‘How do we get people who went to ‘Lord of the Rings’ to embrace this?’ 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.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time someone has tried splashing a new coat of paint on the Oz stories — 1985’s Return to Oz, starring a young Fairuza Balk as Dorothy, was roundly criticized at the time for being too scary for kids. (Which was ironic, considering that it probably hewed closer to L. Frank Baum’s original series of books than the first movie did, but you can’t win ’em all.)
No director or release date has been announced for the project, which will be released through a partnership between Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures.