Actress Drew Barrymore – who made her directorial debut last year with the roller derby flick Whip It – is set to helm Surrender Dorothy, a sequel to the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz.
According to Pajiba, Surrender Dorothy tells the story of “the great, great granddaughter of Dorothy who has to learn how to use the power of those ruby slippers to keep the Wicked Witch of the West from taking control of the kingdoms of Earth and Oz.” The film will be based on a script written by Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction).
But what about the fact that said Witch was killed at the end of The Wizard of Oz? We’ll have to wait and see how that one gets explained later.
Barrymore has been attached to the project since 2002 and was originally set to play the descendant of Dorothy Gale. There’s no word yet whether she will still take on the role in addition to her directing/producing duties on the film, but I think it unlikely at this point.
Will Barrymore reunite with her Whip It star Ellen Page – admittedly the most obvious choice for the lead on Surrender Dorothy? The two seem to have a good working and personal relationship so it’s definitely a possibility.
Warner Bros. currently has a similar project in the works, a Wizard of Oz sequel that revolves around the granddaughter of Dorothy based off a screenplay written by Josh Olsen (A History of Violence). That film was long rumored to be based off the ‘Twisted Land of Oz‘ toyline created by Todd McFarlane (Spawn), but now – based off the script synopsis – the film looks to be significantly less adult-oriented.
Both Barrymore’s Surrender Dorothy and Warner Bros.’ Oz project sound like semi-sequels that are to the original Wizard of Oz what Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was to the classic Lewis Carroll story. Disney’s 1986 flick Return to Oz was a direct Wizard of Oz sequel, but I wouldn’t expect either of these new projects to resemble that less popular film – one whose darker tone and freaky creature design was admittedly more loyal to L. Frank Baum’s original Oz novels.
Choosing between Warner Bros.’ Oz sequel and Barrymore’s Surrender Dorothy, I’m personally more excited for the latter. Barrymore demonstrated in Whip It that she could imbue even a pretty formulaic story with enough energy and style that it didn’t feel nearly as tired as it should have.
Like this year’s Alice in Wonderland, Surrender Dorothy sounds like it will use the journey through a fantasy land undertaken by its female protagonist as a metaphor for her own coming of age into adulthood – a theme which Barrymore handled quite well in Whip It.
But what do you readers think? Which Wizard of Oz sequel sounds more enticing? Sound off in the comments section below.
There’s nothing official yet, but we’ll keep you posted on the development of Surrender Dorothy as more information rolls in.