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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, October 21, 2010 4:20 am
Reading the Screen: A Wizard of Oz Prequel?
Posted by: David Pitt

mogran-as-wizardAccording to this article at Cinematical, it looks like the awesome Sam Raimi will be directing a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, with — get ready to be excited — Robert Downey Jr., as the Wizard. (That guy there, to the left, is Frank Morgan in the 1939 film.)

According to the article, the movie will explain how Downey’s character, a “circus wrangler,” got to Oz and became the great and powerful wizard.  I have no idea what sort of story Raimi is planning to tell — Cinematical has this slightly distressing follow-up story, which I’m assuming is mostly conjecture – but I sure hope he uses the Wizard’s real name, which was revealed in the fourth Oz novel: Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs.

Raimi is an imaginative director — check out not just his Spider-Man movies, but also Darkman and the Evil Dead trilogy. I’d say he’s perfect for this material. His lightly twisted visual style should definitely serve him well, too.

If you just can’t wait for the movie — I know I’m pretty edge-of-my-seatoz-cover right now — why not reacquaint yourself with the book that started it all, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (first published, if you can believe it, 110 years ago)?

And if you’re curious about Baum, the man who — like Lewis Carroll — wrote adult stories that looked like kids’ books, check out L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz (2002), an excellent biography by Katharine Rogers.

harmetz-coverOh, and you simply must pick up Aljean Harmetz’s The Making of the Wizard of Oz, one of the very best making-of books you’ll ever read. Oh, heck, let’s just say it: this is the definitive chronicle of the production of the classic movie. The book’s been reissued a handful of times since its publication in 1977, and it’s pretty easy to find.



3 Responses to “Reading the Screen: A Wizard of Oz Prequel?”
  1. Keir Says:

    I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read the book! It’s an omission I’m hoping to correct by reading it to my kids in the near-ish future. Can’t wait to see what Raimi does with the prequel.

  2. James C. Wallace II Says:

    If I may, I would like to suggest your readers and yourselves aquaint yourselves with my work in the Land of Oz. These are definately children’s books and have not been ‘adultified’.

    THE ROYAL MAGICIAN OF OZ TRILOGY is a 3 volume tale of magic and wonder that recalls the cherished values of Love, family, friendship, loyalty and courage. This timeless tale of Oz reminds us of the value of overcoming our deepest fears and conquering the challenges that might otherwise defeat us.

    Volume One, Magician of Oz and Volume Two, Shadow Demon of Oz are now available for your reading enjoyment thorugh, as well as

    Volume Three, Family of Oz is due to be released on January 29, 2011.

  3. Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Reading the Screen: A Wizard of Oz Remake? Says:

    [...] may recall from an earlier post that Sam Raimi is also working on an Oz movie, a prequel to the original. If both movies actually [...]

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