New Line Cinema is reportedly developing a new Wizard Of Oz movie, and the studio has already found its director. Nicole Kassell, who recently helmed HBO’s Watchmen limited series, has secured the gig.
This version will reportedly be a “re-imagining” of the classic 1939 film. Kassell’s version will not attempt to directly remake that film. Instead, it will draw directly from L. Frank Baum‘s classic book. Variety notes that this new take that could draw from the Julie Garland movie, but how much is unclear.
Interestingly, because Kassell’s Wizard Of Oz movie is set up at a studio whose parent company – Warner Bros. – owns the rights to the 1939 movie, there is room for Kassell’s version to tie into that movie in ways other adaptations didn’t have.
This is by no means the first time a studio has attempted to seek new profits from one of the most beloved films of all time. Since MGM’s 1939 adaptation of Baum’s novel, there have been numerous movies, shows and theatrical productions to take on the Wizard Of Oz name. The latest was Sam Raimi‘s 2013 prequel Oz The Great And Powerful.
It’s unclear exactly what script New Line is currently working with. Previous drafts were penned by Darren Lemke (Gemini Man) and screenwriting duo Neil Widener and Gavin James (San Andreas 2). There’s probably still plenty to be figured out as to how much of the classic movie to take from and how much to re-jig and update, so this could take some time.
However long it takes, Kassell is a great choice to direct. Although she reportedly won New Line’s approval thanks to her Watchmen work, where she was integral in shaping the look and feel of the series, she’s also previously directed the interesting Kevin Bacon drama The Woodsman in 2004, and has also directed episodes of Westworld, Better Call Saul, and The Leftovers.
“I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen”, Kassell said in a statement.
“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!”
We’ll wait and see how this project develops. Will it end up closer to a Wizard Of Oz remake in the end? Or will it be a more original re-imagining?