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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM

“People come and go so quickly here”: Those “Oz” projects

Confirmation came this morning on Deadline.com that Sam Raimi, now freed from “Spider-Man” duty, will direct “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” a sort of “Wizard of Oz” prequel that would explore the life of the Wizard of Oz before he turned up in Kansas for the events of the beloved 1939 movie. A script is being rewritten, and Robert Downey Jr. is eyeing the lead role (but hasn’t signed). This is the highest profile of four — yes, four — currently-in-development “Oz” projects, and I am not making any of these up. As reported by Movieline, the other projects are:
— “The Wizard of Oz,” a sequel, written by Josh Olson (“A History of Violence”
— “Oz,” a vaguely defined project written by Darren Lemke (“Shrek Forever After”) and with some “Twilight” producers attached, so there may well be vampires involved.
— “Dorothy of Oz,” based on a chapter in a book by L. Frank Baum’s grandson, is a 3D musical with songs by Bryan Adams, with Lea Michele of “Glee” set to star. (Though, if you saw Michele busily auditioning for “Funny Girl” on the Tony Awards the other night, you might think she’s set her sights elsewhere.) This project, of the four, seems to be the closest to actually happening, but we’ll see.
All of this is making my head spin like a Kansas twister. Time for the real thing. Alas, no YouTube video from the original “Wizard of Oz” appears to be embeddable (is that a word?), so we’ll just have to look at a picture and hum “Over the Rainbow.”

(Photo copyright MGM and Warner Home Video)
I feel better now. There’s no place like home — and, in this case, no movie like the original, ever.

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