Like celebrity fragrances and cockroaches, there is apparently a ceaseless clamor for ever-more remakes of the Wizard of Oz. We'd no idea! And Drew Barrymore is the latest to tackle L. Frank Baum's ode to the Gold Standard.
Whether because of the fluctuating gold market or a fondness for straw men, The Wizard of Oz is hot right now. Barrymore has signed on to direct the ominous-sounding Surrender Dorothy, described as a sequel to the 1939 classic. And that's not all! Reports the Guardian,
At least five films based on the Wizard of Oz have been reported in recent weeks. Disney, which made Alice in Wonderland, is developing Oz the Great and Powerful, an origins tale revealing how L Frank Baum's wonderful wizard ended up at the Emerald City (and possibly featuring Sam Mendes directing Robert Downey Jr as the wizard). There are also two CGI versions, as well as another based on a comic-book series, and finally the bizarre-looking The Witches of Oz, featuring Lord of the Rings' Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd (as the wizard) and Alien's Lance Henriksen.
Yikes! A cursory glance at YouTube would have shown them that it's a dicey proposition...
And it's not like the 1939 classic made it look so easy! A bloated budget, a rotating roster of talent, injuries, drama and possible munchkin suicides made its production a Hollywood legend.
Of course, Garland wasn't the first Dorothy by any means: the fantastic subject matter and uber-popular source material made Wizard a natural adaptation subject almost from the beginnings of film. 1910's The Wizard of Oz was the first, but we have a certain fondness for 1914's awesomely weird His Majesty The Scarecrow Of Oz.
The Wiz, of course, assembled an insanely amazing cast, even if it's really sad to have to decide whether to feature a clip of the late Lena Horne, or the late Michael Jackson.
Any child of the 80s can tell you that while it may have sucked, Return to Oz remains unparalleled in its ability to feed your nightmares and render wig shops really, really terrifying.
I'm not going to pretend I watched more than half of one episode of SciFi's darkly dystopian Tin Man, but I will say that this alone was enough to convince me of the folly of approaching this material without a really good score under your belt.
Drew Barrymore To Direct Another Wizard Of Oz Film [Guardian]
Tin Man Trailer [YouTube]
Return To Oz: Dorothy Encounters Heads [YouTube]
There's No Place Like Home [YouTube]
The Wizard Of Oz - Michael Jackson [YouTube]
His Majesty The Scarecrow Of Oz 1914 Part I [YouTube]