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Sam Mendes may be off to see the Wonderful Robert Downey Jr. of Oz

04.20.2010

Weird A-list rumor of the day: Robert Downey Jr. is considering the role of the Wizard in an update of THE WIZARD OF OZ.

And that's not all: Sam Mendes is reportedly attached to direct, which would be something to fill the 007-sized hole now in his schedule.

This twist on the twisted tale is Warner Bros.' OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (formerly just called BRICK),  one of several competing projects based on L. Frank Baum's "Oz" books that are in the public domain. This one, being produced by ALICE IN WONDERLAND's Joe Roth, is a pseudo-prequel exploring how the Wizard of Oz also arrived in the trippy realm as part of a traveling circus from Kansas and ultimately took the grandiloquent position behind the curtain.

WB had also been considering a darker variation from scribe Josh Olson (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) focusing on a granddaughter of Dorothy who returns to Oz to fight evil. But with this kind of talent involved, it seems likely that OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL will get to the poppy fields first.

Mendes (AMERICAN BEAUTY, ROAD TO PERDITION) had also been attached to an adaptation of the comic PREACHER, but left that for the James Bond movie. It looks like he'll be heading down the yellow brick road rather return to Jesse Custer's search for God.

Extra Tidbit: Hey, as long as it's not a musical. And no flying monkeys.

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