Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who would play Dorothy?

Following the success of Tim Burton's 3D Alice In Wonderland, three major Hollywood studios are looking at remakes of The Wizard of Oz, the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland.

Many of the mooted remakes of the children's classic, which was based on a novel by L. Frank Baum, have been classified as "in development" for several years, but the staggering success of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland has convinced studio bosses to move them off the back burner.

Warner Brothers announced this week it intends to green-light one of two rival Wizard of Oz projects currently being produced under its banner.

The first is a straightforward, non-musical adaptation, which remains faithful to the original novel. It is being developed by Temple Hill Entertainment, the production firm behind Twilight, and written by Darren Lemke, the screenwriter of Shrek Forever, with the aim of it turning it into a long-running franchise, with sequels based on the author's 21 other books about Oz.

The alternative being considered by Warner Brothers, which is searching for a lucrative series of films to replace its soon-to-finish Harry Potter franchise, is a darker, more modern follow-up to the original tale written by Josh Olson, who previously adapted David Cronenberg's A History of Violence.
According to a synopsis, that film, which is called Oz, will tell the tale of Dorothy's modern-day granddaughter, who returns to the Emerald City in order to fight the descendants of the baddies that her ancestor faced. It is aimed squarely at the teenage market. 

Two other major studios are also pushing on with rival Wizard of Oz projects. Joe Roth, one of the producers of Alice, met with Disney last week to discuss a 3D prequel to the original film called Brick, which reveals how the Wizard, who like Dorothy comes from Kansas, originally arrived in Oz. 

Meanwhile Universal is developing a film version of the hit musical Wicked, a spin-off of Baum's tale which is told from the perspective of the witches, and has been one of the most lucrative new shows on both Broadway and in the West End of the past decade.

In the eyes of the public, the biggest question about any Wizard of Oz remake is who would play Dorothy?
The most obvious US teenage names are Miley Cyrus, who boasts close ties to Disney and a strong following in the "tween" market, Dakota Fanning, and the Little Miss Sunshine star Abigail Breslin. They are already stars in their own right, though. And the recent trend for film-makers is to plump for a complete unknown. 

Who would you like to see play Dorothy?

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