New Line Cinema Plans 'Fresh Take' on Wizard of Oz

'Watchmen' director Nicole Kassell is on board
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2021 7:15 PM CST
Wizard of Oz Remake Planned With Watchmen Director
Costumed "Wizard of Oz" characters attend the "Wizard of Oz" 70th Anniversary Emerald Gala on Sept. 24, 2009, in New York.   (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)

(Newser) – Are we off to see the wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz—again? New Line Cinema is making a new adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum children’s novel, with Nicole Kassell, the visual architect of Watchmen, set to direct. Baum's 1900 novel, now in the public domain, has spawned many adaptations over the years—most famously, of course, the 1939 MGM musical by Victor Fleming starring Judy Garland. Kassell's version will not be a musical. New Line said it will be a "fresh take" and a "reimagining" of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the AP reports. It will have some advantages, too, since Warner Bros. owns New Line and the 1939 film. That means it can use some trademarked elements like the ruby slippers.

"While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imagining such a legendary tale," said Kassell in a statement. "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!" Kassell is an executive producer of HBO's Watchmen and directed three of its nine episodes, including the pilot. She has worked primarily in television but directed the feature films The Woodsman in 2014 and A Little Bit of Heaven in 2004.

(Read more The Wizard of Oz stories.)

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