Word over the last few days was that Sam Raimi was in negotiations to direct the Wizard of Oz prequel for Disney. Now Deadline has confirmed that a deal was finalized to make Oz: the Great and Powerful Sam Raimi’s next stint in the director chair since he removed himself from the Spider-Man franchise in January.
After the great success Disney had with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, the studio is hoping that Raimi can work the same type of magic with the Wizard of Oz prequel. The film will star Robert Downey Jr. as a circus wrangler who, thanks to a tornado, gets whisked away to the land of Oz where he gets mistaken for a know it all.
Oz: The Great and Powerful joins a slew of other Wizard of Oz projects already in the works. Warner Borthers has an Oz sequel titled Oz: The Return to Emerald City from a script by Josh Olsen (A History of Violence). Indy company Summertime Entertainment has Dorothy of Oz, based on the same-book by Baum’s grandson Roger S. Baum. It will be a 3-D animated musical feature, with news coming only yesterday that Glee star Lea Michele will be the voice of Dorothy. She joins the likes of Kelsey Grammer, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Dancy, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi as voice talent on the film.
No word yet on when Oz: the Great and Powerful will go before cameras and no release date has been set yet. Stay tuned…