An offer has gone out to director Sam Raimi to head up Walt Disney’s currently in development Oz, The Great And Powerful. A prequel to The Wizard Of Oz, the film had earlier been reported to have Robert Downey Jr. attached to the title role.
It is not known if Raimi will actually take the job. Sam Mendes already passed on the film, instead looking for a smaller film to do before turning his attention to a London stage version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with music by Hairspray tunesmiths Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Ironically, the director of the cinematic adaptation of the Hairspray musical, Adam Shankman, was thought to be on Disney’s shortlist for Oz.
Since being squeezed out by of the Spider-Man franchise that he launched for Sony, Raimi has been working on developing a film based on the online game World Of Warcraft. He had been originally committed to make the film for Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers after he finished his duties on Spider-Man 4. Of course, if Raimi commits to Oz, this may take him out of the running for replacing Guillermo del Toro as director of MGM’s The Hobbit two film adaptation. (Raimi had been on the shortlist before del Toro was hired.)
Disney already has a script by Mitchell Kapner ready to go and is looking to get the film in front of cameras by the end of the year, probably to beat out two different Oz projects in the pipeline over at Warner Brothers.