Breaking Book News: TWO Wizard of Oz Movies

June 17th, 2010 by

Okay, so remember how last month I totally bagged on Hollywood, saying that they never have any new ideas and all their movies are based on books? Well, guess what — they’re at it again! (Told you so!)

This time, the latest book-to-big-screen news is all about TWO new adaptations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum:

First off, a 3D animated film is in the works, and it was just announced that Lea Michele from Glee will do Dorothy’s voice! The movie, Dorothy of Oz, is a continuation of the original Wizard of Oz story, with Dorothy returning to Oz to find the land in decay and her friends — Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion — missing in action.

The film is actually based on a book that was written by Roger Baum, the great-grandson of original Oz author L. Frank Baum. I’ve never read it, but apparently there are many new characters, including a man made of marshmallows and named Marshall Mallow. Hello, can you say AWESOME? Except… if he’s a good guy, don’t you think it would be hard to keep yourself from eating him?

Anyway… Dorothy of Oz is set to release in April 2012.

The second upcoming Oz movie is a prequel film from Disney. It will be directed by Sam Raimi (who directed Spider-Man). And Robert Downey Jr. will star!

The movie will be called Oz, The Great and Powerful and tell the story of the Wizard himself, who apparently was transported to Oz by a tornado (not unlike Dorothy). When he got there, the people of Oz mistook him for a great and powerful wizard that they had been waiting for. And I suppose he didn’t bother to correct them! Well, actually, I don’t know; that’s just my guess based on the fact that he’s the Wizard when Dorothy gets there. But it looks like we’ll have to watch the movie to find out! Unfortunately, there’s not even a start date for work on the film, so we might have to wait a while…

But in the meantime, you can get ready for both these movies by stocking up your bookshelf! Not only is there the Dorothy of Oz book by Roger Baum, but did you know that L. Frank Baum himself wrote a bunch of sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Including the original classic, he wrote 14 Oz books in total!

As a kid, I actually owned a copy of Book 2, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and I can still picture the book cover in my mind: a boy and some dude with a Jack-o-Lantern for a face, riding on a crazy furniture creature as it flies through the air. (That would be Tip and Jack Pumpkinhead riding on a Gump, FYI.)

Unfortunately, I can’t find an image of that cover anywhere online (I swear I’m not making it up!), so you’ll just have to make do with this photo of the original cover. Too bad it’s not quite as action-packed as the version I had. But if you’re intrigued (and I hope you are), you can read the whole book for free online! Ain’t the Internet a wonderful thing?

— Karen

Karen’s favorite actress used to be Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the 1939 movie. In fact, Karen used to bounce up and down on the couch and shout, “It’s Judy Garland! It’s Judy Garland!” whenever she came onscreen. This is what comes of having a father who loves musicals — total geekiness at an early age.
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