Is there anyone who wields enough strength to direct the great and powerful Wizard of Oz? Yes, there is: Sam Raimi.
Deadline Hollywood reports that the “Spider-Man” director is officially signed on to direct Disney’s 3-D “Wizard of Oz” prequel, titled “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” which tells the story of how the Emerald City-dwelling sorcerer came to hold his seat of power. The news comes following reports yesterday that Raimi was in negotiations for the gig.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” is already set to star Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role. The story follows the future wizard, a circus wrangler in the real world, as he is carried away to the magical land by a tornado. The people who live there mistake him for a powerful being and thus, a legend is born.
Raimi was left looking for a project to work with back in January, after he split with Sony over creative differences relating to the “Spider-Man” franchise. The director is currently developing an adaptation of the hit online role-playing game “World of Warcraft,” but the plan was for that to happen after “Spider-Man 4.” With the Marvel Comics superhero out of the picture, “Oz” fills the gap in his schedule.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” is one of several developing projects related to L. Frank Baum’s classic “Wizard of Oz” tale. “Glee” star Lea Michele was confirmed only yesterday as the lead voice in “Dorothy of Oz,” a 3-D animated feature adapted from the same-titled book by Roger S. Baum — the original author’s great-grandson. That movie also features the voice talents of Patrick Stewart, Hugh Dancy, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and a number of others. Further out is Warner Bros.’ “Oz” sequel, “Oz: The Return to Emerald City,” which has a script from “History of Violence” scribe Josh Olson.
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