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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Mendes_DowneyJr_OzAfter success with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Disney is looking to put  a Wizard of Oz prequel on the fast track with both a possible director and star  circling the project. According to Production Weekly,  Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to star as the wizard in an original prequel of sorts to the L. Frank Baum books, with Sam Mendes to possibly direct, now that the 23rd James Bond film has been put on hold. Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland, Hellboy) is producing.

The script originally titled Brick is now called Oz the Great and Powerful,  and has been written by Mitchell Kapner (the Whole Nine Yards). It follows how a traveling circus performer who ends up in Oz becomes its most powerful person, even though he is only a charlatan posing as a wizard behind the curtain.  The L.A. Times has described the wizard in this script as “a more dark and complex character in the Roth/Kapner version than the desperate and doddering wizard of the MGM musical (played by Frank Morgan) would suggest.”

This is the fourth Oz film currently in various stages of production in Hollywood.  Warner brothers has two: one simply titled Oz, and another that follows Dorothy’s granddaughter as she has an adventure in the land of Oz, as well as the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Wicked at Universal.

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