As far as reboots and adaptations go, L. Frank Baum’s perennial 1900 novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” has certainly seen more than its share. From the iconic 1939 musical film to the 2007 mini-series Tin Man, many versions of the story have been told both on television as well as the big screen. After all, few fantastical settings are as well-known as the land of Oz.
So it made perfect sense that NBC would be looking to capitalize on that brand recognition when the network placed a 10-episode order for Emerald City, its upcoming drama series that will offer a darker take on Baum’s creations. Adria Arjona (True Detective) has already been cast as Dorothy, and now we know which accomplished actor will take on the part of the Wizard of Oz himself.
According to Variety, Vincent D’Onofrio, veteran actor of both film and television, will play the show’s version of the wizard, who reportedly rules through “inspiration, fear and a tenuous accord with the grand witches.” D’Onofrio, of course, has a long history on the small screen, having starred on NBC’s own Law & Order: Criminal Intent from 2001 to 2011. More recently, he’s been seen as the Kingpin on Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix and appeared in Jurassic World this summer.
Given his impressively wide-ranging career, there’s little doubt that D’Onofrio will be able to play the Wizard of Oz with ease. He’s proven time and again that he has an undeniable presence onscreen, and an enigmatic figure like the Wizard seems like something that is very much in his repertoire. The fact that Emerald City will be directed by Tarsem Singh — who worked with D’Onofrio in 2000 thriller The Cell — only makes the casting that much more fitting.
The bigger question is how well the show’s approach to the Oz mythology will pay off. Its premise reportedly centers on a 20-year-old Dorothy (along with her K9 police dog), who winds up embroiled in a dark and bloody struggle for the control of Oz. Presumably, this battle will pit D’Onofrio’s wizard against characters like the Wicked Witch of the West (Ana Ularu), but it remains to be seen how many liberties the miniseries will take with the source material. In the meantime, D’Onofrio’s casting at least is an encouraging sign that Emerald City may be worth watching.
Do you think D’Onofrio is a good choice to play the Wizard of Oz? Share your thoughts on Emerald City in the comments section below.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on Emerald City as this story develops.