L. Frank Baum’s beloved children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has made its mark on the big screen more than a few times, with the latest incarnation being entrusted by New Line Cinema onto Watchmen director Nicole Kassell.
Kassell collected a slew of awards for her work on HBO TV mini-series Watchmen, a revamped take on the classic graphic novel by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colourist John Higgins. Her meticulous world-building work on the project makes her an ideal fit to take the reins in the Land of Oz.
Kassell also comes with big-screen experience having directed The Woodsman in 2004 and A Little Bit of Wonder back in 2011.
The director revealed her involvement in the project in a statement in which she declared, “I am incredibly honoured to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen, While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imagining such a legendary tale. The opportunity to examine the original themes — the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home — feels more timely and urgent than ever.”
Before closing the statement with a nice piece of pun work, “These are profoundly iconic shoes to fill, and I am eager to dance alongside these heroes of my childhood as we pave a newly minted yellow brick road.”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900 and inspired 13 follow-up books. It has been adapted numerous times for cinema, but few efforts have come close to rivalling the iconic 1939 Judy Garland musical, there is enough exciting pedigree behind the project this time, however, to suggest that this latest adaptation could be a hit.
As of yet, they’re no further details relating to cast and crew with the project still very much in its infancy. Previous draft of the script were worked on by Darren Lemke and the duo of Neil Widener and Gavin James, but whether they have had the final say on this latest incarnation remains to be seen.