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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Wizard of Oz’ remake

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week I’m stretching the theme a bit to include the classic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, which exerted a profound effect on the mindset of Generation X via its constant airings on TV in the 1970s and 80s, particularly as a Thanksgiving tradition. (In my review of the film, I mention it as a holiday perennial.)

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The original cast included:

Dorothy Gale: Judy Garland
The Wizard of Oz: Frank Morgan
The Scarecrow: Ray Bolger
The Cowardly Lion: Bert Lahr
The Tin Man: Jack Haley
Glinda: Billie Burke
The Wicked Witch: Margaret Hamilton

My dream cast for a modern update:

Daniel Gale: Michael Cera
The Wizard of Oz: Mos Def
The Scarecrow: Jude Law
The Cowardly Lion: Will Farrell
The Tin Man: Keanu Reeves
Glinda: Kate Winslet
The Wicked Wizard: Alan Rickman

I’m gender-switching Dorothy because I love Michael Cera, and because he has the kind of sweetness that feels more like Dorothy’s than almost any female actor of his age I can think of off the top of my head. (Plus, after Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, I could see him wandering Oz with a guitar slung over his back, ready to strum out a mournful, homesick tune as needed.) And something tells me Alan Rickman would be simply awesome as a bad wizard.

Other modern updating: instead of a storm, Daniel could get knocked out during a terrorist attack, or could fall asleep at his computer à la Neo, or maybe he’s just dreaming while wearing his iPod on the school bus…

Who would you cast?

Follow the yellow brick road:



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  • D

    The Scarecrow: Cillian Murphy.

    :)

  • I want the all-“Pushing Daisies” edition.

    Anna Friel – Dorothy
    Kristin Chenoweth – Scarecrow
    Lee Pace – Tin Man
    Chi McBride – Cowardly Lion
    Jim Dale – Wizard
    Ellen Greene – Glenda the Good Witch
    Swoosie Kurtz – The Wicked Witch

  • Bill

    Dorothy Gale: Natalie Portman
    The Wizard of Oz: Paul Giamatti
    The Scarecrow: Zach Braff
    The Cowardly Lion: Jack Black
    The Tin Man: Liam Neeson
    Glinda: Kate Winslet
    The Wicked Witch: Allison Janney

  • P. Ryan

    Here I was ready to chime in with my own cast until I read MaryAnn’s inspired gender-switching cast AND David’s fantastic Pushing Daisies cast.

    I will not even attempt to add my own now.

  • the rook

    i’d switch two actresses in the pushing daisies cast since kristin chenoweth is glinda.

  • the rook

    excuse me – galinda.

  • Ian

    Dorothy Gale- Christina Ricci
    The Wizard of Oz- Gene Wilder
    The Scarecrow- Ellen DeGeneres
    The Cowardly Lion- Tina Fey
    The Tin Man- Johnny Depp
    Glinda- Queen Latifah
    Wicked Witch of the West- Angelina Jolie

  • Matthew

    dorothy gale-amy adams
    wizard of oz-michael caine
    scarecrow- edward norton
    cowardly lion-philip seymour hoffman
    the tin man- josh brolin
    glinda- julianne moore
    wicked witch of the west- michelle pfieffer

  • ian

    Michelle Pfieffer would be a good wicked witch.

  • D

    Michelle Pfeifer would be a good anything.

  • ian abernathy

    Very true

  • grj

    Michelle Pfieffer was a good wicked witch in Stardust.

  • N

    the idea of the gender switch dorothy with michael cena is genius
    otherwise keeping dorothy female, amy adams is spot on

  • MaryAnn

    I adore Amy Adams but she’s far too old to play Dorothy.

  • amanohyo

    Dream Cast:

    Dorothy Gale: Keisha Castle-Hughes
    The Wizard of Oz: Woody Allen
    The Scarecrow: Jim Carrey
    The Cowardly Lion: Eddie Izzard
    The Tin Woman: Michiko Nishiwaki
    Glinda: Audrey Tautou
    The Wicked Witch: Parker Posey

    Nightmare Cast:

    Dorothy Gale: Miley Cyrus
    The Wizard of Oz: Samuel Jackson
    The Scarecrow: Ben Affleck
    The Cowardly Lion: Robin Williams
    The Tin Man: Kelsey Grammer
    Glinda: Sarah Jessica Parker
    The Wicked Witch: Meryl Streep

  • Laura

    Woody Allen would be really funny as the wizard!!!

  • josh montgomery

    Dorothy- Miley Cyrus
    The Wizard of OZ- Tommy Lee Jones
    The Scarecrow- Jonny Deep
    The Cowardly Lion- Jack Black
    The Tin Man- Lee Evans

  • Sean

    They are maybe making a remake and the girls on the list for dorothy are natalie portman who is too something (i forget), zooey deuchsel( if thats how you spell her name) but shes not that famous, and Elle Page is at the top of the list who i personally love for the role.

  • rudd

    Director: Tim Burton

    A dark retelling of The Wizard of Oz, like what he is doing with Alice in Wonderland.

    Dorothy – Zooey Deschanel
    Scarecrow – Johnny Depp
    Tin Man – Adrien Brody
    Lion – Benecio Del Toro
    Wizard – Liam Neeson
    Wicked Witch – Helena Bohnam Carter
    Glinda – Morena Baccarin

  • Althea

    Some interesting nominations, but why is everybody putting up adults for Dorothy? Even Miley Cyrus is what, 16 now? Dorothy’s supposed to be a child.

    Zooey Deschanel has already been a Dorothy figure in the SciFi TV movie, “Tin Man”, which debuted in March 2008. Not a remake, but follows the general outline. It’s great.

    IMDB has a 2011 date for a John Boorman CGI animated remake but no details yet.

  • Braniff

    I’d want the Wizard of Oz to be animated–on the lines of such Disney animated movies as the original 101 Dalmations, the original animated Alice in Wonderland, the original Fantasia or Pinocchio. I’m not sure who would play who, but perhaps Frank Welker could play the cowardly lion and a scarecrow. Perhaps Ross Bagdasarian Jr. (who works with Alvin & the Chipmunks nowadays) could do the voices of the munchkins. Thoughts?

  • santo

    Dorthy-Kristen Stewart
    The Wizard of Oz-Morgan Freeman
    Scarecrow-Jim Carrey
    Lion-Robin Williams
    Tinman-Johnny Depp
    Wicked Witch-Halle Berry
    Glinda-Kate Winslet

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