Looking for a follow up to her directorial debut Whip It, Drew Barry is reportedly rescuing the Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) script Surrender Dorothy from development hell where it has been languishing. Originally, Barrymore had been attached to the project back in 2002 but it never made it in front of the cameras.
Helm’s script asks the question “What if the Wicked Witch of the West didn’t die at Dorothy’s hands but was imprisoned instead?” The answer is apparently she will eventually escape from Oz prison to threaten both Oz and Earth, leaving Dorothy’s great, great grand-daughter to slip on the Ruby Slippers to save both worlds.
This makes the fifth (!) Wizard Of Oz related project to be in some sort of stage of active development.The Witches Of OZ sounds close to the concept here, where a grown-up and successful children’s book author Dorothy Gale discovers that her stories about a magical land are actually repressed childhood memories. Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd and Lance Henriksen are set to star. The Caliber Comics series Oz, is being adapted as Dark Oz by director Pearry Teo, while director John Boorman has been working on a CGI animated version for some time now. A prequel is also in the works which will focus on the Wizard. Robert Downey Jr. is attached.
With this many takes in development on a public domain works, as well as the three versions of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea being targeted for the screen, I think we are seeing the beginning of a trend in Hollywood fired by the box office success of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland earlier this year. Expect more competing literary projects to be announced.
There’s no word yet as to if Barrymore’ll be acting in the film now as well, but odds are she’ll probably cast someone else into the role of Dorothy’s descendant now. Maybe her Whip It star Ellen Page? We’ll see.