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Todd McFarlane to produce 'dark' Wizard of Oz movie

Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 1:20 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane is teaming up with A History of Violence scribe Josh Olson to create a "dark" version of The Wizard of Oz for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures. According to a story in Variety, it will be a "revisionist take" on the beloved L. Frank Baum books.

McFarlane created twisted versions of Oz characters in 2003 for his popular toy line. Olson told Variety that the movie won't be that over the top. "I saw those toys, and Dorothy as some bondage queen isn’t something I want to do," he said. "The appealing thing about the Baum books to me is how wildly imaginative they are. There are crazy characters from amazing places. I want this to be Harry Potter dark, not Seven dark."

In other words, this will be a PG-13 affair.

McFarlane gave Variety his interpretation of the project. "My pitch was 'How do we get people who went to Lord of the Rings to embrace this?'" he said. "I want to create [an interpretation] that has a 2007 wow factor. You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley from Alien than a helpless singing girl."

This movie is more apt to be a Wizard of Oz sequel than a remake of the 1939 film. "We still want to take advantage of the first film, which might be the most beloved of all time, and rely on its place in your cultural memory to bubble beneath the surface," Olson said to Variety. "A lot of the plot is mine, but the characters are all Baum."

McFarlane is a former Marvel Comics illustrator who left to write and draw his own series, "Spawn," for Image. Spawn was turned into an animated mini-series and a live-action film. He's become more of an entrepreneur in recent years with roles as toy creator and entertainment producer.

Olson wrote the screenplay -- the Oscar-nominated screenplay, mind you -- for A History of Violence from the Wagner/Locke graphic novel. He was the most recent writer on the postponed Halo movie.

No word yet on the title for this new Oz film. Until it's given one, we're just gonna call it Todd McFarlane's Oz. No word on a production start date either.

Source: Variety