NEW WIZARD OF OZ FOR A WORLD OF WOE
THE story of Dorothy’s epic journey on the yellow brick road, with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, helped bring a smile to the face of millions in a world on the brink of war.
Now, exactly 70 years after its release in August 1939, with the world in the grip of recession and British troops facing mounting casualties in Afghanistan, a Wizard of Oz sequel is being planned.
Filming could start next year – possibly in the UK – and 15-year-old Dakota Fanning, the acclaimed actress from Steven Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds and Charlotte’s Web, is being tipped to step into Judy Garland’s shoes and send her career soaring over the rainbow. But the new movie will be “darker and more action-packed” according to one Warner Bros executive.
It is the brainchild of producer Basil Iwanyk, who explained: “It will be set in the present day and feature Dorothy’s granddaughter.”
Co-producer Todd McFarlane said: “You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley character from Alien [Sigourney Weaver] than a helpless singing girl.”
The original movie was based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and it made an instant star of 16-year-old Judy Garland.
Over the Rainbow won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the film was voted Best Picture. It was not a big commercial success, however, barely recouping its then huge production costs of $2.8million.
It has, of course, since become a television favourite and re-releases have earned it a fortune.
The favourable exchange rate against the dollar, plus the host of Harry Potter technicians and special-effects experts available, make Britain an attractive proposition for the project.