More witchy casting news has been brewing for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, a semi-prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz story. The latest update concerns the possible addition of Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, Shutter Island) to the cast as none other than Glinda, the Good Witch.
Some readers may recall that the actress’ name popped up once before in association with Raimi’s Oz movie – back when the director reportedly preferred Hiliary Swank over Williams (the latter was Disney’s preferred starlet) for the role of the villainous Evanora. Both parties apparently had a change of heart and went with Weisz as the Wicked Witch (of the West, presumbly) – with Variety confirming that Williams is instead in talks for the part of Glinda, as it were.
Disney has slated Oz the Great and Powerful to begin principal photography this July, with Raimi directing from a script penned by Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards, Romeo Must Die) and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay Abaire (Rabbit Hole, Rise of the Guardians).
Between that screenwriting pair’s combined resume and Raimi’s collective filmography, it seems there’s a good chance that Oz the Great and Powerful could bounce around a good deal in tone – ranging from broadly comedic to seriously dramatic and even fantastically action-packed at times.
Alice in Wonderland producer Joe Roth is also working behind the scenes on Oz, which the Mouse House is clearly hoping will be a box office smash in its own right. The latter project features most of the same ingredients as the former (bankable director, noteworthy thespians playing famous characters, and a screenplay that reworks a classic piece of literature) – and Disney even wanted to bring Alice star Johnny Depp onboard to play the young Wizard of Oz at one point.
Hollywood loves to hope that lightning will strike twice in the same way, but that’s generally not the case. Alice in Wonderland grossed over $1 billion in theaters worldwide – in no small part due to people’s interest in seeing what the one-of-a-kind duo that is director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp would do with such a surreal and colorfully illogical story. Oz the Great and Powerful just doesn’t read as being quite as (financially, at least) promising a venture on paper.
Oz the Great and Powerful could hit theaters by Fall 2012.