Dear Mr. Zemeckis,
I would like to open this letter by stroking your ego, in the hopes that flattery will influence you more than a plea to your common sense. Clearly common sense is not the way to go since you have allegedly already come aboard the Let’s-Remake-The-Wizard-of—Oz-train. (If that little tidbit turns out not to be true, please disregard the less than flattering portions of this correspondence.)
You have made many entertaining films that I have enjoyed, some even merited multiple viewings. I especially enjoyed Back to the Future, Romancing the Stone, Cast Away and I loved “Tales from the Crypt”. On the other hand, I despise you for Forrest Gump almost enough to cancel out all that enjoyment, but we won’t get into that right now. Death Becomes Her is one of the freakiest things I’ve ever seen and I still haven’t gotten over Meryl Streep’s head all twisted around. And Used Cars? Genius. I have Monster House (produced with Steven Spielberg) on DVD but haven’t seen it yet because my younger daughter was too frightened when we first tried to watch, and this brings me to an important point. I have a chicken child. Not a literal chicken, of course - though chickens are becoming quite popular these days as pets and food providers - so I guess it isn’t incomprehensible to have a chicken child. But what I mean is that my daughter is terrified by any film with even the hint of a scary character. She’s mostly into Winnie the Pooh and Strawberry Shortcake, though other kids her age progressed past those animated friends a good two years ago. I’ve had her sobbing in my lap at many a matinee and I finally just gave up and given over my life to Disney.
A couple of months ago we were visiting my husband’s uncles and one of them happened to ask my girl if she’d ever seen The Wizard of Oz. I laughed and explained that I hadn’t even tried because I knew she would be terrified by some of the “scary” scenes. So our uncle took my little one out on the porch and went through the story with her a bit and somehow he convinced her to watch. Later that evening we rented the DVD and three generations of family delighted in Dorothy and her friends. I’m certain I’ve seen The Wizard of Oz at least twenty times and yet it never feels old. Who among us doesn’t adore those sweet men, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley? Who hasn’t thrilled to the magic of Glinda the Good or the unforgettable Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch? Who wouldn’t swoon along with Judy Garland’s gorgeous “Over the Rainbow”? One simply can’t watch and without sucked into that world. As I sat in that room and saw the old uncles smiling and just as spellbound as my kids, I realized what a wonderful movie this was that could cut across the lines separating 70 and 7. Now, how could a filmmaker be so oblivious?
Just stop. If you continue on, you will only make a fool of yourself. Your version is doomed to a life of comparisons. And no matter how highly you think of yourself, or Warner Brothers thinks of you, you can never surpass what we already have. The curtain will be pulled back and the inferiority exposed. Don’t waste your time or the studio’s money? Save the actors from ridicule; the overblown special effects from scorn. Think of the little people!
In closing, I’d like to suggest that you find a nice field of poppies in which to lie and ponder these things I’ve written. Think over your life and how you’d like to be remembered. Oh! Oh, what’s happening? What is it? You can’t run anymore. You’re so sleepy. You have to rest for just a minute…Toto! Where’s Toto?
(Update: While it is apparently true that Zemeckis was approached, according to The Wrap, he is now denying that he will direct, although Warner Brothers may still yet be shopping around the original script for a potential remake.)