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The Woodsman director Nicole Kassell is set to helm the movie adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s kids novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for New Line.
New Line’s parent, Warner Bros. Pictures, owns the rights to the 1939 film that starred Judy Garland and is now a Hollywood classic. The new feature will be a fresh take on Baum children’s novel and, unlike other adaptations, can draw on elements like the ruby slippers from the 1939 Oscar-winning film.
Previous screenplay drafts were written by Darren Lemke and the duo of Neil Widener and Gavin James.
“I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen. 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. 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!” Kassell said in a statement.
Isaac Klausner will executive produce and Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey of Temple Hill will produce the feature reimagining along with Marc Platt. Kassell is a sought-after TV director whose work includes episodes of Watchmen, The Americans, Vinyl, American Crime, The Leftovers, Rectify, The Following, Better Call Saul and The Killing.
Kassell made her feature directing debut with The Woodsman, which premiered at Sundance in 2004 and she later helmed 2011’s A Little Bit of Heaven, starring Kate Hudson and Gael Garcia Bernal. Baum as a prolific writer is best known for the best-selling children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Also from within the Wizard of Oz universe, visual effects and animation studio Animal Logic has announced the Warner Bros.’ animated musical adaptation of Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz will be the next project out of its Vancouver studio.
Kassell is repped by WME and Management 360.
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