Nichol Kassell, who’s previously directed on HBO’s Watchmen, has signed on to direct the new adaptation of the Wizard of Oz for New Line Cinema.
The L Frank Baum classic children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been adapted for the screen and stage several times, most notably the 1939 classic film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy.
In a statement for The Hollywood Reporter, Kassel said she was “incredibly honoured” to bring “this beloved classic to the screen”. She said the 1939 movie and musical is “part of my DNA” so she is “exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imaging such a legendary tale”.
Kassell continued: “The opportunity to examine the original themes —the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home — feels more timely and urgent than ever.
“These are profoundly iconic shoes to fill, and I am eager to dance alongside these heroes of my childhood as we pave a newly minted yellow brick road!”
Isaac Klausner will executive produce and Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey of Temple Hill will produce the feature reimagining along with Marc Platt.
The Wizard of Oz hasn’t remained untouched in the eight decades since Garland donned the ruby slippers. Baum’s characters have been reprised on-screen in Return to Oz (1985) and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). There have been countless TV adaptations including the three-part miniseries Tin Man (2007) starring Zooey Deschanel and references to the movie/novel in shows including Rugrats, Futurama, The Muppets, Hello Kitty, SNL and an EastEnders charity special.
The characters have also been featured in Broadway musicals The Wiz and Wicked. But nothing has retained the same fan-fervour as the original 1939 classic with Judy Garland, which was itself a remake of old silent films of Wizard of Oz.
So when the news broke of the remake, fans were divided.
Wizard of Oz remake is one reboot too many for fans.
Many people took to social media to share their thoughts on the Wizard of Oz remake. Many people called out Hollywood for trying to adapt what is heralded a queer classic while others called on the reimagined movie to be even more inclusive.
Rachel Leishman, an associate editor for The Mary Sue, tweeted: “No. I draw the line” at the Wizard of Oz remake.
HOLD ON NOW YOU WANT TO REMAKE THE WIZARD OF OZ? NO. I DRAW THE LINE.
— rachel leishman (@RachelLeishman) February 10, 2021
One person Tweeted that the only reimagined Wizard of Oz they wanted to see is one where Dorothy is a lesbian and Ozma, who in the novels is the rightful ruler of Oz, is her trans girlfriend.
Another fan wrote, saying she wanted to see an openly gay Scarecrow and Tin Man living in a giant ear of corn.
“Is that too much to ask?” she said
Another fan agreed that the reimaging should include a canonically gay Tin Man.
“reimagining wizard of oz” why dont u put ur money where itll rly count and make the tinman gay— áine james 🦆 (@WaterDrinkerH2O) February 9, 2021