There are something like half a dozen Wizard of Oz projects floating around at the moment (two over at Warner Brothers alone), including two sequels and something called Oz Wars. Who knows which one of these will eventually make it to the big screen first, but my money is now on the prequel, Oz: The Great and Powerful (formerly Brick). And I’ll tell you why: Because it’s the one I want to be made first.
Why? Because Sam Mendes is attached to direct, and Robert Downey, Jr. has been offered the lead role. That lead role? The Wizard. Yes, folks. It’s an origins story. One that focuses on the Wizard as a young man. As the LA Times notes, it’s based on some of Frank Baum’s ideas, and a few original ones thrown in, about “the wizard as a charlatan who’s part of a traveling circus but goes on a similar odyssey as Dorothy when he mysteriously lands in Oz.”
Young Oz. Robert Downey, Jr. Sam Mendes? With that much going for it, we’ll just ignore the fact that it also has Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland) producing and Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards) penning the screenplay. After all, RDJ apparently had little or no script to work from in Iron Man and he managed to improvise that movie into awesome shape. Let’s just hope that Mendes allows the man some room to improvise and doesn’t suffocate him with structure, as he’s apt to do.
The bad news in this scenario? The reason that Mendes now has a little time free to do Oz: The Great and Powerful is because Bond 23, which he had been set to direct, has been put on indefinite delay while MGM works out its financial woes. Those woes are many, so don’t expect another Bond film anytime soon.
(Source: Production Weekly)