There’s another director in the Land of Oz (Picture: Getty/Rex)
Kenya Barris, best known as the creator of sitcom Black-ish, is to direct a Wizard of Oz remake.
The 47-year-old writer, producer and actor has been tapped to write and helm the Warner Bros reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The story has been retold on both the big and small screens several times, most famously in the classic 1939 MGM movie musical, directed by Victor Fleming, that starred Judy Garland in the role of Dorothy.
The plot follows Dorothy, a Kansas farm girl who is swept away by a tornado and finds herself – as well as her dog Toto – in the colourful Land of Oz, where they encounter iconic characters including the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Other films based around the story include Disney’s 1985 film Return to Oz and 2013’s Oz the Great and the Powerful with Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis.
Michael Jackson and Diana Ross also starred in1978’s The Wiz, adapted from the Broadway show if the same name.
Based on L. Frank Baum’s book, the 1939 musical remains the most celebrated version of the story (Picture: GTV Archive/Shutterstock)
Barris shared his excitement as the news was announced (Picture: Getty)
(L-R) Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Diana Ross and Ted Ross pose for a publicity shot for 1978’s The Wiz (Picture: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
The movie will be a modern reimagining of the classic musical and Barris’s Khalabo Ink Society is producing the flick, according to Deadline.
Barris is currently completing work on his debut feature film You People for Netflix, after writing the comedy film together with Jonah Hill.
The ensemble cast boasts stars such as Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny.
He is also busy writing a remake of the 1992 sports comedy movie White Men Can’t Jump, with rapper Jack Harlow set to play the role that was portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the original film.
The Wizard of Oz was nominated for six Oscars and has become an all-time classic movie (Picture: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock)
Reacting to the news being made public, Barris excitedly wrote on his Instagram: ‘I’m doing THE WIZARD OF OZ!!!!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯
‘Thank you everyone who made this happen. WB, @CAA, my entire team at @khalaboinksociety, @khalabomusic and a special shout out to my man @_colebennett_ ….
‘I have NO WORDS… other than it’s f**kin’ GO TIME!!!’
This Wizard of Oz movie from Barris is completely separate from New Line’s previously announced remake, first mentioned in February 2021.
New Line Cinema also has a Wizard of Oz film in the works with director Nicole Kassell (Picture: Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic)
That version will be directed by Nicole Kassell, known for TV show Watchmen, and is described as a ‘fresh take’ on Dorothy and the Land of Oz.
In a statement, Kassell said: ‘While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imagining such a legendary tale.
‘The opportunity to examine the original themes – the quest for courage, love, wisdom, and home – feels more timely and urgent than ever.
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‘These are profoundly iconic shoes to fill, and I am eager to dance alongside these heroes of my childhood as we pave a newly-minted yellow brick road!’
Details for Barris’s project are currently firmly under wraps.
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