Teaser Trailer: The Polish Brothers’ Oz

Oz

Hollywood is going crazy with Wizard of Oz sequels, prequels, reboots and re-imaginings. Earlier this week it was confirmed that Sam Raimi had signed on to direct the Wizard of Oz prequel Oz The Great and Powerful starring Robert Downey Jr. It has been previously rumored that Drew Barrymore is planning to direct a Wizard of Oz sequel titled Surrender Dorothy. Meanwhile, Universal have their Wicked film (based on the Oz-related musical of the same name) somewhere along the pipeline. And I’m sure there are others in various stages of development.

A teaser trailer has appeared online today (found via the playlist) for a new film from Michael and Mark Polish titled Oz. It appears to be a Wizard of Oz prequel, as the clip features a younger-than-normal Dorothy walking down a hallway with the Cowardly Lion (who is played by a realistic-looking lion and not a man in lion make-up). Watch the teaser trailer for Oz after the jump, and please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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According to a new piece at The LA Times, Warner Bros. are currently looking to push ahead with one of their two, long-in-development takes on the Wonderful Wizard of Oz story; meanwhile, Collider are reporting that no movement has been made on either project in over a year and that the Times piece is simply repackaging old information with no real reason to be doing so right now. In fact, they even call it ‘hit whoring’.

Who’s right? I guess we’ll have to wait and see if there’s any action in the next few weeks or so, but I personally wouldn’t be surprised to find Warners chasing after Alice in Wonderland‘s big box office with the nearest thing in reach.

The two projects supposedly in contention are the Josh Olson version, and another one from Darren Lemke, writer on the upcoming fourth Shrek as well as Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer and a New Line take on The Nutcracker.

Meanwhile, Universal have their Wicked film (based on the Oz-related musical of the same name) somewhere along the pipe, and there’s also a John Boorman-directed CG version of Oz that hasn’t been heard of for a while, though is still said to be progressing, if slowly. The future is looking more than a little Baumy.

Oz

OzA 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, posters… 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 where… 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.  I would have loved to see a R-Rated Michael Bay version of the Wizard of Oz. But I’m probably in the minority.

Todd McFarlane’s Oz to the Big Screen

Oz

OzTodd McFarlane makes some of the coolest action figures and statues on the market today. I always thought that his dark and twisted Wizard of Oz line could make an interesting movie, but who would allow it to happen? By that, I mean, the figures were very twisted, and very out there. It’s not something that mainstream America will latch on to. I always assumed that the toy line was collected by Goth-looking individuals who might have some open shelf space for Dorthy in bondage.

Well apparently Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures have acquired the idea from Todd McFarlane. The revisionist take on L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz will be titled “OZ”. A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olsen is set to write the script, which he claims will be more of a sequel than a remake. The toys are PG-13, if not R-Rated, and the film project will be toned down.

“I saw those toys, and Dorothy as some bondage queen isn’t something I want to do,” Olson told Variety. “The appealing thing about the Baum books to me is how wildly imaginative they are. There are crazy characters from amazing places. I want this to be ‘Harry Potter’ dark, not ‘Seven’ dark.”

McFarlane hopes to create a new interpretation that has “a 2007 wow factor” which can capture the audience that went to see Lord of the Rings. McFarlane said: “You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley from ‘Alien’ than a helpless singing girl.”

Check out some photos from McFarlane’s Oz toyline below.

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