Movie Reviews

‘The Wizard of Oz’ Remake Is Happening at New Line


A remake The Wizard of Oz is happening. New Line’s upcoming movie adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has found its director in Watchmen helmer Nicole Kassell. The movie is based on the original 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum, which has inspired many adaptations across multiple mediums ever since, such as the famous 1939 musical with Judy Garland. For the new movie, producers want to see a creative reimagining of the classic story, ultimately hiring Kassell based on her award-winning work on Watchmen.

“I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen,” Nicole Kassell said in a statement. “While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imagining such a legendary tale. The opportunity to examine the original themes-the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home- feels more timely and urgent than ever. These are profoundly iconic shoes to fill, and I am eager to dance alongside these heroes of my childhood as we pave a newly minted yellow brick road.”

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The original novel version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz follows a young farm girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto as they’re whisked away by a cyclone in Kansas and transported to the magical Land of Oz. Hoping to find her way back home with the help of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy enlists the assistance of her new friends: a Cowardly Lion, a Tin Woodman, and a Scarecrow. A highly-successful book, the story brought about 13 additional novels that serve as sequels to the original title.

Because The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is in the public domain, anyone has the freedom to adapt the classic story in any way they see fit. The 1939 movie is perhaps the most well-known of every adaptation, though it’s just the tip of the iceberg as to how many there really are. In fact, a movie adaptation of the Wizard of Oz-inspired stage play Wicked is also in the works. Needless to say, it will be difficult for any filmmaker to put an interesting new spin on a classic story that’s been told so many times, but given what we’ve seen from Kassell, Oz seems to be in good hands.

Along with Watchmen, Kassell has also directed episodes of the HBO shows Westworld, The Leftovers, and Vinyl. For helming the Watchmen episode “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” she won the Directors Guild of America Award for Dramatic Series. As an executive producer of the series, she also won an Emmy. It was also her work on Watchmen in particular that impressed New Line as she oversaw every step of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning production.

Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey will produce with Marc Platt, and Isaac Klausner will serve as an executive producer for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A release date hasn’t yet been set and plans haven’t been revealed for when production will begin. This news comes to us from Deadline.

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