Todd McFarlane Gives an Update on His Dark Wizard of Oz
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane has been pitching a "darker" take on The Wizard of Oz for years now. We first wrote about it back in 2007, where McFarlane said he wanted to create a film with "a 2007 wow factor." Everyone forgot about it until last week, when a rumor hit courtesy of the UK's Daily Express saying that Dakota Fanning might be playing Dorothy. Empire caught up with McFarlane recently, who not only debunked that rumor ("I haven't heard that. If we just do a sugary, sweet Dorothy that everybody has seen over and over for 50 years, as far as I'm concerned, that's too obvious.") but updated them on its status.
Warner Brothers, who is re-releasing the original Wizard of Oz musical on Blu-Ray this month, licensed McFarlane's Twisted Land of Oz series of action figures (more details here). A script was written by Josh Olson (A History of Violence) back in 2007 and has been in development ever since, without any major progress. "I'm sure the higher-ups at Warner Bros. would like to have it on their schedule, and they're probably moving in that direction. But we've seen in our lifetime thousands of cases where things don't go according to plan, right?" That doesn't sound too good, at least for the time being, but it might just pop up.
As for the script: "They're on their second iteration right now, trying to get it into a zone that makes sense. Josh Olson wrote a draft that didn't quite strike Warners fancy. Everyone was a little lukewarm. They wanted it more sexy! So they were going to do a rewrite and get some fresh eyes on it." Really? I mean, I have a crush on Judy Garland in the original Wizard of Oz, but sexier? Now this is getting pretty interesting. Originally, McFarlane's idea was to have it be about Dorothy's granddaughter, but maybe not anymore. "The first draft had those elements. Will they remain? Can't be sure." It sounds like this is almost hopeless.
McFarlane goes to talk about why he thinks Warner Brothers isn't too excited about his version yet. "I think my 'Twisted' version is a little scary for Warners to embrace. I essentially pitched Lord of the Rings. It was big, it was bold and it wasn't a very pretty place. It was badass! There's no Baum in it at all. When they bought it from me, my thing was, turn off the MGM mindset. It's a public domain property, let's go invent some cool new ideas, which basically will surprise people. What's going to get a new generation to go look at Oz is if you reinvent it on some level." Only time will tell if this project will ever get to see the light of day.