Whenever you remake a revered Hollywood film, there’s bound to be controversy, but going right to the original material is certainly an interesting approach. Warner Bros is in early talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct a live-action remake of the The Wizard of Oz and plans to use the original script from the 1939 classic. Warner Bros owns the screenplay because Ted Turner bought it along with the MGM library before Warner Bros bought Turner’s empire. This latest Oz twist comes as Disney is trying very hard to mount Oz: The Great And Powerful. Sam Raimi is developing that film while he simultaneously develops World of Warcraft for Warner Bros and Legendary. Disney and Raimi want Robert Downey Jr as their star. The original Wizard of Oz script had a total of 19 writers (seems not much has changed in Hollywood) with many of them uncredited, including Bert Lahr who played the film’s Cowardly Lion. This wouldn’t be the first hugely high-profile remake for Zemeckis; he’s in the middle of a Yellow Submarine animated redux for Disney, scheduled for a 2012 release. Also, after working for years in performance-capture animation, Zemeckis has been moving toward a return to a live-action films, attaching himself to Timeless also at Warner Bros.
While Disney topper Rich Ross and production president Sean Bailey have been beating the drum on both coasts for Tron: Legacy and Tangled, they have just solidified their next 3D event-sized family film followup to Alice in Wonderland. The studio has received a commitment from director Sam Raimi to Oz: The Great And Powerful as his next film. Raimi had become attached to Oz in June, with the hope of landing Robert Downey Jr to play the title character. At the time, Raimi was also hot and heavy into the Legendary Pictures property World of Warcraft and it became a footrace to see which Raimi would make after dropping out of a 4th Spider-Man.