Next Wizard of Oz: Robert Downey Jr?

Actor is in talks for prequel film
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2010 9:08 AM CDT
Robert Downey Jr. arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday, March 7, 2010, in West Hollywood, Calif.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
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(Newser) – Maybe you don’t picture Robert Downey Jr. as the “desperate and doddering” Wizard of Oz featured in the beloved musical—but what about the “dark and complex charlatan” he’s painted as in L. Frank Baum’s books? Yes, RDJ would be perfect for that role, writes Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times, and we have to agree. Serendipitously, the actor is in talks for the upcoming Oz prequel.

Disney loved producer Joe Roth’s prequel ideas so much they fast-tracked the project, and it could be shot as soon as next spring. Currently called The Great Powerful, it was penned by The Whole Nine Yards writer Mitchell Kapner. Directors being considered are American Beauty’s Sam Mendes (who would likely give us a more “subdued,” possibly even “bleak” film, Zeitchik notes) and Hairspray’s Adam Shankman (keep your fingers crossed it's him if you want a more “whimsical” tone).

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