Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
A couple weeks ago we told you that Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures bought the rights to make a movie based on Todd McFarlane’s revisionist take on L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz will be titled “OZ”. Well, IGN spoke with McFarlane about the new movie project and it was revealed that Michael Bay was originally somehow attached to the project.
“I came up with this huge, massive Lord of the Rings epic. It actually got fairly tight and succinct.”"We actually went in there and for a while had Michael Bay going around with me pitching it,” revealed McFarlane. “We had props, visuals, toys, storyboards, postersâ€¦ I made little models of the city. I think it overwhelmed them. They said that they needed 20 minutes for a pitch and I was like, ‘I need at least an hour and fifteen. I’m going to act out this whole movie and show you the whole thing because this movie is going to cost at least $140 million to make. I don’t want you to not know what you’re buying.’”
It took a long while until one of the movie studios actually bit. And McFarlane also says that the movie will probably be a lot lighter than the original concept seen in the action figure line.
“If you’re asking someone for $140 million, they’re completely the client. So you get to this moment in life whereâ€¦ they’re not making the movie exactly that I would have made, but they’re making something. And you have to go is that something better than, even if you had the power to insist it your way, not making it,” he explained. “There are those moments where you just have to compromise a bit and go this is a collaborative effort and here’s what the studio wants. It is dark and moody, but it’s always been a PG-13 movie. You might not see that in the toys because the toys weren’t built with that PG-13 in mind. The bondage Dorothy, in my pitch, is literally an eight second scene. Just one scene of her in that.”
“There’s a lot of money on the table and they have to get what they want, but that said, we’ve seen a marked movement in films with The Grudge, The Ring and The Lord of the Rings. Those are PG-13 movies, but to me they’re right up against that R edge in terms of tonality. So you can still do dark and do PG-13. In three years, if we ever make it, whoever’s in charge at that point will have much more control than I will. I’ll be there as a producer and have my input, but I’ll just cross my fingers.”
A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olsen is working on the script. I’m very excited about this project, I hope that the studio doesn’t soften the tone that much. I think an R-Rated version of OZ would be more appealing just in the fact that it would be completely different from the original tale. The closer you get to PG, the closer the story will probably resemble the original stories. I wish we lived in a world where it was more important to create something creative and original, and not just something that will sell to the mass audiences.Â I would have loved to see a R-Rated Michael Bay version of the Wizard of Oz. But I’m probably in the minority.