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'Oz' remake writer: I know fans could burn my house down

March 11, 2010 |  4:54 pm


With all the "Wizard of Oz" remake action out there, we caught up with Josh Olson, the "History of Violence" writer who has written a script for one of the potential "Wizard of Oz" remakes. His film, which is titled simply "Oz" and set up at Warner Bros., concerns a granddaughter of Dorothy's who returns to Oz  -- so, unlike the other versions, it's set in the modern day.

Olson turned in his draft a while ago, and Warners, he says, has been seeking a comedic writer who could add a layer of funny.

History_of_violence Olson says this version will seek to blend elements from the 1939 MGM musical (Warners owns the rights, so no legal issues there) and the original L. Frank Baum novel. "The goal was to try write something that would satisfy both [sets of fans]."

Despite the new protagonist, as well as other new characters, Olson says the film isn't looking to wipe the slate clean; the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow all figuring in prominently. The girl "reconnects with all of your favorite characters and meets some new ones," he says.

Given the tone of his previous work -- we're still flashing back to the vengeance Viggo Mortensen exacts on William Hurt -- one might expect the film to take a really dark turn.

But Olson says he says he's leavened his script with some lightness. "It's not a kids film but it's certainly not 'Aliens,' " he said. And he points out that, with its iconic monkey scene, the original had its scares too.

News of "Oz" remakes has engendered a strong reaction among fans who hold the original close to their heart. Olson says he's conscious of the risks of tackling a classic. "You want to write something that takes people back to the fondness they had for the original," he says. "I'm aware of the fact that there are a couple million people who will come to your house and burn it down if you don't get it right."

-- Steve Zeitchik


Toto Recall: Disney now in the Wizard of Oz game too

A new 'Wizard of Oz' could make its way down the Hollywood road

Image: Turner Entertainment Co. and Warner Home Video

Comments () | Archives (8)

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Great. Now we can all look forward to Dorothy running around with a ringtone and being a degraded tramp. By present-day, I'm sure Mr. Olson means that he is intending on destroying the integrity of the character and the story. Why can't these bloody imbeciles leave solid gold alone?

Well...hate to say it---you CAN'T get it right.

Maybe a remake that more clearly explains the story line, so the millions of 'fans' will understand the message.
The Tin Man lacks compassion (no heart)
The Scarecrow lacks reason (no brain)
The Lion lacks courage (no faith)

To be a better person, we must have and balance all three, and the answer lies within. One of these alone is not enough to be a full person.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of munchkins have no understanding of the characters, events, or meanings that surround them, just like in real life.

There will never be anything that can ever replace MGM's "The Wizard of Oz", just as you cannot remake "Casablanca", "Gone With the Wind" , or hell, "Titanic". Disney cannot make a remake of "Snow White" or "The Little Mermaid" either. It's just not possible and any attempt would just be wrong.

I love "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". It is a fantastic book, it was the 1st book I read as a child. I wasn't interested in Dr. Suess, only "Oz".

If Hollywood wants to make a big grand spectacle, by all means make "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". Which would probably be rated PG-13. Meaning Dorothy would be a little girl, not a woman. The shoes are silver, not ruby. There would be monsters that are half bear and half tiger. The Scarecrow would twist the heads of evil crows sent to peck eyes out. The Tin Man would chop off wolves heads. And after the Witch is melted, we'd have to sit comfortably still and wait, because we aren't anywhere near the end of the story yet. Dorothy and friends still have to go through a forest with monsters and angry trees to find Galinda.

Make it just like the book. Fantastic, frightening, magical, and strange. But may the Dark Forces from Hell capture and torment anyone who has an inkling to make a sexified Wizard of Oz with "Twilight" style tweens making out and uttering catchy one liners in 140 characters or less.

Luke's comment pretty much hits the nail on the head.

The only I could add would be that there are thirteen other OZ novels by the original author, L. Frank Baum, with which to expand movie plots. The stories are already there, and so wonderful. Don't let some modern hack ruin their legacy.

The idea of remaking the original Wizard of Oz is outrageous. I can't freakin' believe my eyes or ears sometimes. Leave timeless classics alone, Hollywood!

You know, not too long ago, a talented filmmaker created a new world with its own magic and all people did was scorn him and his sci-fi masterpiece. Now, that film is the most successful film of all time. You would think Hollywood would learn a lesson and encourage to follow in James Cameron's footsteps.

Leave it to present day Hollywood for being "inventive". Did anyone learn anything from an attempt to re make "Gone With The Wind" - sequel, bla bla bla. The audiences were tricked by "Alice in Wonderland".. and Johnny Depp's make-up and faux 3-D... what a pile that is. The depth of character-writing, zero. Characters zipping in and out without humor or anything resembling Lewis Carroll's wit. The success of "Alice.." was in the title and this generation's kids and parents desire for "imagination". They didn't get it .. but they were out there in droves with hope and box office cash. Give us something besides fake comic book hero crud, paper thin development and converted 3-D junk.

I completely agree with Luke.

I mean, honestly, if you are going to be making the next Oz film, you have to do it right. We've already had musical adaptions and sugar coated ones too. Why hasn't anybody even thought of remaking the original 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'?

I mean, it would be extremely true to the original tale and with today's technology...it could be amazing. But if you do that, you have to follow everything in the original...Dorothy should be no younger than 12. The Scarecrow should be (most likely) CGI, if you want it to look realistic. The Tin Man can't look like he's just wearing silver painted cardboard. He should be CGI as well. And the Cowardly Lion shouldn't be walking on two feet, either. He should look kind of like Aslan from "The Chronicles of Narnia" films...just like that.

And the Wicked Witch shouldn't be green, either! She should only have one eye. And the Emerald City HAS to look somewhat ORIGINAL, or true to the book.

This should completely be live action mixed with some CGI for the characters that need CGI (the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, etc.)

Please, Hollywood! Just follow the original book by L.Frank Baum. Yes, it may be tough, but that's what fans want most. No "sequels" to the original 1939 film or to the book. Just give us the original story, true to the book.

Thank you.


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