Last week, Production Weekly reported that Robert Downey Jr. might be the man behind the curtain for Disney’s The Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz the Great and Powerful, and that Sam Mendes might be overseeing it all. Now a new contender has risen for the director’s chair: Adam Shankman.
According to The LA Times, Shankman wants the job bad. Really bad. He wants it so much that he dumped Bob the Musical (also set up at Disney) in the hopes of scoring the gig. Granted, a musical about a kind man who develops psychic song powers sounded a bit iffy anyway, but this is a big gesture, particularly since he still has to sell himself to Disney’s Rich Ross and Sean Bailey. Does dumping a pre-production project in the hopes of scoring a new one endear yourself to studio bosses? Is it possible Ross and Bailey asked him to? Did he have to give up that thing he loved the most? Because that would be quite the trial by fire.
Is Shankman a better fit than Mendes? Probably. He’s certainly handled more whimsical material, and knows his way around high fantasy. Mendes seems an odd pick for the world of L. Frank Baum, even if it is a version filtered through Mitchell Kapner’s keyboard.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey