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It’s (finally) official: Sam Raimi is set to direct Walt Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful. Robert Downey, Jr. has been set to lead the film as the wizard for quite some time.
Whether it’s the Evil Dead trilogy, the first three Spider-Man films, or his acclaimed B-movie Drag Me to Hell, Raimi’s career has thrived on genre films. While this is more or less a genre film it doesn’t take much insight to notice that this film calls for a much different tone than Raimi’s aforementioned films.
Additionally, David Lindsay-Abaire will be rewriting Mitchell Kapner’s script. He has written screenplays for the fantasy Inkheart and the Fox animated film Robots. Neither film impressed critics, but he has been getting good notices for the drama Rabbit Hole that stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Wiest. Additionally, he wrote the Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play of the same name that inspired the film.
Based on his play and its adaptation, Lindsay-Abaire seems to be adept in drama, but his two ventures into genre films have been sketchy to say the least. With this in mind, is there a possibility that we will see a more dramatic side to the man behind the curtain?
Regardless of quality, “Oz” is going to be a huge hit, probably the biggest of the numerous Wizard of Oz-derived films currently in the works. Both Raimi and Downey will attract a wide demographic, and the Disney banner certainly doesn’t hurt its potential for box office glory. Hopefully this is a good film and not simply a money ploy in the vein of Tim Burton’s thoroughly disappointing Alice in Wonderland.
Latino Review speculates that Raimi’s Warcraft film could get pushed back due to this development. He might have time to get it done beforehand, though, as leading man Downey has a full slate, a third Iron Man film and The Avengers just being two of his other films in the works. It’s also worthy to note that this news comes amidst a casting controversy concerning the female lead Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, which Downey may or may not be starring in at this point.