New Line Cinema is plotting a return to a very different Oz.
Variety reports the Warner Bros.-owned studio has bought an untitled pitch from screenwriter Mike Van Waes for a horror film set in the the world of L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz.” No other details about the project have emerged.
New Line has already found success with such recent horror fare as “The Conjuring,” its sequel and the spinoff “Annabelle.” Although the 1939 “Wizard of Oz” film is relatively cheery and bright, Oz isn’t the most unlikely setting for horror. The flying monkeys, vengeful witches, and deadly flower fields should give New Line plenty of material, and the bleak 1985 fantasy-adventure “Return to Oz” undoubtedly left more than a few children with nightmares.
Baum’s “Oz” novels have inspired numerous film, television and stage adaptations, including the iconic 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz” and the Tony-winning musical “Wicked.” The most recent reimagining, “Emerald City,” is airing as a 10-part miniseries on NBC. It features a grown-up Dorothy dealing with her own anger and abandonment issues while trying to heal a divided, darker Oz. “[There are] two forces that are currently at conflict [in Oz] — magic and science,” said executive producer Shaun Cassidy. “This is the story of alchemy. If Dorothy can bring those two forces together, Oz can be healed and united. Then, Dorothy can be healed.”
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