The last time we wrote about Oz, the Great and Powerful, Sam Mendes was about to sit in the director's chair and Robert Downey Jr. was in talks to star. A few months (and one Adam-Shankman-of-Hairspray-fame-reeeally-wants-to-direct-this rumor) later, things have changed somewhat. According to Vulture, the offer to direct has been sent out to Mr. Sam Raimi.
Oz, the Great and Powerful is, of course, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, telling the possibly interesting (but probably needless) story of how the man behind the curtain became the leader of a mystical land of Munchkins and tin men and lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Normally, I'd turn up my nose and act all snooty around a prequel to one of the most beloved movies of all time (especially if it was directed by Sam friggin' Mendes), but with Raimi at the helm, I'm intrigued, especially if he decides to go all Army of Darkness on the land of Oz.
I love me some Sam Raimi and have even gone as far as writing a defense of the universally deplored Spider-Man 3, mainly because his unique voice as a director is clearly evident at all times amidst some otherwise poor decisions. The best thing I can say about Raimi is that the man is no studio hack. He may be making big budget blockbuster movies these days instead of zero-budget cabin-in-the-woods schlockfests, but his wonderful Three-Stooges-meets-Roger-Corman-meets-the-Coen-brothers aesthetic has been present in everything he's made. The man is an auteur, albeit an auteur who values people slipping on banana peels and hilarious chainsaw amputations just as much as intense, personal drama and big action.
That begs the question: what would an Oz movie look like in Raimi's hands? Okay, it begs a few more, too. What about the competing Oz movies, including The Wizard of Oz at Warner Bros., Oz at New Line and even the probably-not-happening-but-oh-well-I'm-mentioning-it-anyway version being developed by Todd "I Like Drawing Gooey Things" McFarlane? What will become of Raimi's World of Warcraft film that he's been working on? Will he jump on that post-Oz or will he be forced to drop it he takes this on? Is Robert Downey Jr. still attached in any capacity?
Questions, questions. Answers, answers? Not yet, but we'll keep our ears to the ground.