Sam Raimi will direct "Oz, the Great and Powerful," a 3-D prequel to the 1939, Judy Garland-starring "The Wizard of Oz," according to Deadline New York.
Disney and the former "Spider-Man" director are eyeing Robert Downey Jr. to star, and while it seems likely he'll join up, nothing has been set in writing.
Raimi's official commitment comes after word leaked in June that he was attached to the project. "Right now, we're still talking about making the movie. We don't have an agreement to make the film yet," Raimi told MTV News in July. "But it's a great script, and it would be great if we could come to an agreement and make the film, but it hasn't happened yet."
At the time, Raimi was also developing an adaptation of "World of Warcraft," but Deadline reports that he has committed to "Oz," with production expected to begin next year. The script is currently being rewritten by David Lindsay-Abaire, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his play "Rabbit Hole."
Downey was reportedly lukewarm about the project to begin with but began to shift his position as Raimi further developed the film. Helping matters was the more than $1 billion worldwide gross of Johnny Depp's "Alice in Wonderland," a 3-D tweaking of the well-known tale. In "Oz," Downey would play the Wizard of Oz before he became the iconic man behind the big green curtain.
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