Sam Raimi to Direct ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful’ [Updated]

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

[Update:  Raimi has officially signed on to direct.]

Ever since the decision was made to scrap Spider-Man 4 and reboot that franchise, speculation arose over what director Sam Raimi’s next film might be. Vulture is reporting that he’s been offered directorial duties on the The Wizard of Oz prequel Oz, the Great and Powerful.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures previously hired Raimi to develop a film based on the popular World of Warcraft video game, with the intention of moving forward on it once Spider-Man 4 had wrapped.  With Raimi no longer involved in Spidey’s big screen adventures, that potentially leaves time for him to make another film first.

There were rumors that Raimi’s next film might be a new live-action adaptation of The Shadow. Although it was later indicated that Raimi would only produce, nothing was ever made official, so this is still a possibility.

Several other notable directors have been considered for Oz, the Great and Powerful, including Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition), Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), and Guillermo Del Toro (who has no shortage of other project to keep him busy).

As much as I’d like to see Raimi take on The Shadow next, he seems like a natural fit for Oz, the Great and Powerful. Take a look at the film’s plot synopsis and see if you agree:

“Based on one of the many Frank Baum books, and a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, but told from the wizard’s point of view when he first enters Oz, 50 years before Dorothy. The Wizard is a young womanizing con artist who arrives in the land of Oz accidentally, and is mistaken to be a Wizard, playing along hoping to reap the riches of Oz, only to be thrown into a civil war of a royal family of three young women who later become the witches – 2 evil and 1 good”

Update: Deadline is reporting that Raimi’s deal was finalized last night and he has officially signed on to direct.

The script, previously known as Brick, was written by Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards, Romeo Must Die) and seems like a very interesting take on the Oz mythology. But is it intriguing enough to hold its own against two other Wizard of Oz-themed projects?

Last month we learned that Warner Bros. had hired Drew Barrymore to direct Sudden Dorothy, a sequel to the original 1939 film involving Dorothy’s great, great granddaughter. The studio also has another Oz sequel in development written by Josh Olsen (A History of Violence) that seems to be taking a similar approach to the material.

At one point Robert Downey Jr. was said to be attached to Oz, the Great and Powerful as the Wizard - but this has yet to be confirmed or denied. With or without Downey’s  involvement, the prequel seems to have the advantage in this race. Not only does the story appear to have more potential, it would also probably be met with less apprehension by fans of the original film, who are resistant to the idea of a direct sequel. Then again, Tim Burton’s recent Alice in Wonderland was a continuation of a classic story and a massive box office success.

What do you think? Does Oz, the Great and Powerful sound like a good fit for Sam Raimi? What are your thoughts on the project in general?

Source: Vulture via /Film.

Update: Deadline.

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  1. I think Sam Raimi is a great director/writer/Producer/all around guy. Anything he can be associated with is a great fit for him and the project.

  2. Since the short file about the evolution of the tin man came out last year I’ve been more excited for all things Oz. This had me looking forward to the back stories there are to be told. The original Oz movie w/Judy Garland is essentially a children’s movie,(Although the monkey’s scared the crap out of me when I was a child.) but the story of the land of Oz is definitely not. Even Wicked was decidedly adult. A nice slightly darker look at the land of Oz sounds brilliant to me and Sam Raimi could be just the man to bring it to the screen. Drew Barrymore, tho???? I don’t get it.

  3. 3 new Wizard of Oz movies, and none of them are based on MacFarlene’s Twisted Land of Oz. I’m extremely disappointed.

    Also, I’m a little bit confused here. I get that Oz (the books) are now in the public domain, so anybody can make a movie out of them, Oz (the Movie) is most certainly NOT. The article refers to Disney’s movie as a prequel and Warner Bros’ as a sequel, but only one of those (WB’s) is actually related the original movie, right?

    Or is there something I’m missing?

  4. No, i dont see Raimi doing this properly, it seems too weird for him. Del Toro is the guy for this, but i’ll take Raimi before Burton!

  5. being from kansas, i wish they would leave “the wizard of oz” the (blank) alone.