After the rumor about Fanning surfaced, McFarlane (always the hype man) spoke up about what his vision for the film was, comparing Dorothy's odyssey through Oz to Ellen Ripley's nightmarish experience in Alien. In recent weeks McFarlane talked to Empire about the film (which he is only loosely associated with), where he claimed that there were some squeaky-clean weaknesses in the Oz script that needed some dirtying.
Well, AICN touched base with screenwriter Josh Olson (A History of Violence), who had a few words to say about Mr. McFarlane, and how the Warner Bros. Oz film is actually progressing.
This particular Oz film has been in development over at Warner Bros. for about two years now. According to Olson, the only connection Todd McFarlane has to the project is that he was the one to open the door for an Oz sequel at Warner Bros., via his toyline. And...that's where it ends. Olson claims that once WB was open to the concept of another Oz film, he stepped through that door with a concept and pitch that were all his own. Oh, and Dakota Fanning starring as Dorothy is strictly a rumor.
Check out some excerpts from AICN's exclusive memo from Olson:
Just to clarify - the Oz project I wrote wasn't "twisted" in any way. McFarlane's involvement with the project and the fact that his line of toys live up to that epithet has led to a lot of confusion in the last couple years. The pitch I sold to Warners was entirely my own, based on events in several of the L. Frank Baum books, combined with a story of my own creation...If you want to think of it in terms of what's out there, I was going for a Harry Potter tonality...
But for the record, the project we sold Warners on was in no way based on the Twisted Land of Oz figures. There was no bondage Dorothy, and no gigantic Toto monster. I've never met Todd, never heard his take, and we had one brief telephone conversation after I sold the pitch in which no details of the project were discussed. To be honest, I don't even know if he's read my script.
A lot of our readers have already expressed annoyance with Todd McFarlane's seeming habit of over-hyping Todd McFarlane, and I'm not one to judge where the truth lies in every single case of Hollyweird, but it if Olson (who we know IS involved with this Oz project) is implying that McFarlane is blowing smoke, I'm hard pressed not to believe him.
However, if we're not going to get the twisted freaks of McFarlane's Oz, what can we expect? According to Olson:
Mine is more of a sequel that was - or was at least intended to be - a return to the magical land of Oz that would work well for both fans of the MGM classic, and fans of Baum's amazing books.
For a look at the full memo from Olson, go here.
Ok, so I understand what Olson is attempting to do and why he's doing it - but this project has just hit a wall, as far as I'm concerned. While I didn't think McFarlane's vision was suited for film, the notion of a dark Oz movie had my fickle interests genuinely piqued. Hearing that the film might turn out to be a straight-up sequel to one of the most enduring fantasy fables of all time, I find myself wondering "Why the hell would you bother?"
The Wizard of Oz is not a freaking movie that screams "franchise potential." It's a standalone classic - a perfect little story wrapped in a magical little movie - leave it the hell alone, end of story. Either bring an original and interesting vision to the table or don't sit down at the table at all. I can't believe I'm forced to side with Todd McFarlane on this one...
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Which would YOU rather see? A Twisted Land of Oz flick? Or a sequel to The Wizard of Oz?
Sources: Empire & Aint It Cool News
Header Image Source: IGN