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Exclusive: Todd McFarlane Talks Oz
Spawn creator fills in the gaps

01 September 2009  |  Written by Owen Williams  

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Exclusive: Todd McFarlane Talks Oz

There were numerous reports last week, stemming from a story in The Express, that Warners' new "dark" take on The Wizard of Oz, based on the "Twisted" line of action figures by renaissance man Todd McFarlane, and produced by him and Basil Iwanyk, was nearing production in Britain, and would likely star Dakota Fanning as Dorothy. We were suspicious. So we rang McFarlane, who was more than happy to clarify the current state of play.

McFarlane on the start date being early next year: We're in Hollywood, so you have to predicate all statements of that sort with "our intent would be..." I'm sure the higher-ups at Warner Bros. would like to have it on their schedule, and they're probably moving in that direction. But we've seen in our lifetime thousands of cases where things don't go according to plan, right?

On the state of the script: They're on their second iteration right now, trying to get it into a zone that makes sense. Josh Olson wrote a draft that didn't quite strike Warners fancy. Everyone was a little lukewarm. They wanted it more sexy! So they were going to do a rewrite and get some fresh eyes on it.

On the story being based around Dorothy's granddaughter: The first draft had those elements. Will they remain? Can't be sure. 

On filming in Britain: That's putting the cart before the horse. That depends on what kind of budget comes in, where the confidence level is for the studio execs, where they’ll have the most success stretching their dollars... 

On Dakota Fanning as Dorothy: I haven't heard that. If we just do a sugary sweet Dorothy that everybody has seen over and over for 50 years, as far as I'm concerned, that's too obvious. I'm happy to go with whoever will get the most people in the seats, but sometimes that can change from month to month.

On going "dark": I think my "Twisted" version is a little scary for Warners to embrace. I essentially pitched Lord of the Rings. It was big, it was bold and it wasn't a very pretty place. It was badass! There’s no Baum in it at all. When they bought it from me, my thing was, turn off the MGM mindset. It's a public domain property, let's go invent some cool new ideas, which basically will surprise people. What's going to get a new generation to go look at Oz is if you reinvent it on some level. Not every single level, but some of them have to be new. Shut down your preconceived notions. For me, you should be looking at an isolated movie, that, oh, by the way, happens to be Oz. To get the new audience you're going to have to put some edges on this thing. My version would rock! But they're all like, "We're spending $100m here, we can't go totally nuts, Todd!" So I've told them that the movie I like is the one they're willing to make!

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Your Comments

McFarlane is MAD
As far as I'm concerned a Wizard of Oz sequel is very much needed. I loved the first movie and I enjoyed the SyFy mini series Tin Man and I'm very much looking forward to Disney/Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland which is a sequel to the original Disney Alice in Wonderland animated movie. However after actually seeing Todd McFarlane's Twisted Oz toyline I indeed hope that Warner Bros. and Josh Olsen will clean everything up and make the Wizard of Oz sequel a cross between Harry Potter and The C More

Posted by RedeemedRonin at 12:39 on 03 September 2009 | Report This Post

McFarlane is a cocky little bugger. I read somewhere he was working on a Spawn 2, that was going to be like "Seven" (he said that in 2000 I think) and then recently he said like "The Departed". He hasn't got the soul to pull off either of those, and the comic book itself became a tired, repetative and self-indulgent mess (several of the best characters were created by Gaiman so lawsuit, lawsuit...) that's only way out was to kill the hero and start again (but who still cares More

Posted by sweetladybrick at 22:08 on 02 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Ahhh Nothing to do with the prison drama Oz then. Shame.
Would be more interested in a Spawn reboot. More

Posted by CORLEONE at 18:34 on 01 September 2009 | Report This Post

Ahhh Nothing to do with the prison drama Oz then. Shame.
I can see The Wizard of Oz become a very scary place - I'm looking forward to what Tim Burton does with Alice in Wonderland, going by the photos so far it's look deliciously twisted. It's been too long since McFarlane done something memorable since Spawn. Like Vagos 1268 I miss.that character too. The first movie was actually quite good (despite John Leguizamo doing his duff Martin Short impersonation in that clown suit). Let there be a sequel I say, in Avatar-like 3D so we can all go to Hell. More

Posted by Taz69 at 15:31 on 01 September 2009 | Report This Post

Joke!
Todd McFarlane a "renaissance man"?!? You're fucking joking, right? He's an arrogant prat who draws like a high school kid hopped up 'Sunny Delight' and porn mags. Not to mention the fact that in this article he comes over as an idiot with no sense of creative zeal other than to line his already inexplicably stuffed pockets with more yankie green. Somebody needs to pat him on the back and tell him his run on Spider-Man was garbage and Spawn is a load of 90's, meatheaded, muscleb More

Posted by jimoakley666 at 12:39 on 01 September 2009 | Report This Post

i miss spawn
bring a spawn in 3d in imax.this is were you are good at. More

Posted by vagos1268 at 12:35 on 01 September 2009 | Report This Post

Compromise
McFarlane sounds like a studio heads dream there. He wants to do a dark twisted take on Oz with a bit of edge (Return to Oz was pretty nuts anyway though) but then says 'the movie I like is the one they're willing to make!' basically saying 'I'll do anything they want'. So if someone says 'let's go for a kid friendly straight up remake' he'll compromise all the edge, and who needs that? He also shows it where he says 'I'm happy to go with whoever will get the most people in the seats'. Wouldn't More

Posted by bobthegrinch at 10:48 on 01 September 2009 | Report This Post

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