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'Wizard Of Oz' Reimagining To Feature LGBTQ Representation

'Hopefully, My Movie Can Last As Long As The Original Does' Said The Black-ish Creator

The director of an upcoming iteration of The Wizard of Oz says the remake will include LGBTQ representation, Variety reported on Wednesday.

“The original [1939 film] was an allegory and a reflection of the way the world was at the time with things like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl,” director Kenya Barris told Variety. “Now we’re going to turn a mirror on where we’re at right now and take disparate characters from the LGBTQ community, from different cultural communities and socioeconomic communities, and tell a story that reflects the world. I think this is the best time to do that.”

Barris, creator of the TV show black-ish, reported feeling nervous about reimagining the story: “Hopefully, my movie can last as long as the original does. … hopefully my movie comes out.”

Aside from Barris’ reimagining of L. Frank Braum’s 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Variety reported last year that another remake of the Wizard of Oz was scheduled for development by New Line Cinema. The New Line remake will reportedly be directed by Nicole Kassell, who also directed HBO’s Watchmen series. New Line’s adaptation will reportedly be a “fresh take” on the classic story and will incorporate elements of previous iterations.

“I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen,” said the Watchmen director. “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!”

Wicked, a 2003 musical adapted from the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, retells Braum’s story from the perspective of witches in the Land of Oz. The musical features Elphaba, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and Galinda, referred to as Glinda the Good, as their friendship struggles amidst Dorothy’s travels through Oz in search of the Wizard.

The 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced film starred actress Judy Garland as Dorothy, the central character of the story, along with Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haley respectively playing the roles of scarecrow, cowardly lion, and tin man. The film was reimagined in a 1978 musical titled The Wiz, starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russel, and Ted Ross.  

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