Black-ish Creator Kenya Barris to Direct Wizard of Oz Reboot for Warner Bros.
Wizard of Oz is getting a remake, or rather, a reimagining.
On Monday, Deadline reported that Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is set to write and direct a reimagining of the iconic fantasy classic Wizard of Oz for Warner Bros. His Khalabo Ink Society is set to produce. Details about Barris' version have been kept under wraps, but it's described as a "fresh take" on Dorothy Gale and the Land of Oz that has been so familiar to audiences for generations.
Barris' Wizard of Oz is based on L. Frank Baum's 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and will be just the latest in a long line of adaptations for both stage and screens large and small. Perhaps the best-known adaptation is MGM's 1939 adaptation which stars Judy Garland as Dorothy, a young farm girl from Kansas who, along with her dog Toto, is swept away by a tornado to the colorful and magical Land of Oz. That particular adaptation of Baum's book — which itself is just part of a series of 13 novels in all — has become something of a cultural touchstone with props and items from the film becoming major collector's items — including one of the oil cans used by the Tin Man in the film which went up for auction last summer and one of the blue gingham dresses worn by Garland's Dorothy in the film being found after being missing for decades.
Barris' version of the classic story is said to be entirely separate from the previously announced New Line retelling from Watchmen's Nicole Kassell. That project was announced in 2021 with Kassell reportedly being chosen after an "extensive" search for a director and the studio ultimately being impressed with her work overseeing Watchmen where she served as an executive producer and director of three episodes
"I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen," Kassell said at the time. "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."
As for Barris, the filmmaker is currently in post-production on his directorial debut, You People, a comedy he wrote with Jonah Hill that stars Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lauren London, Nia Long, David Duchovny and more. He also has a remake of White Men Can't Jump in the works as well as a film about Richard Pryor that he is writing.