Director Sam Raimi has wanted to travel to Middle Earth for quite some time, but even as that trip appears to be freeing up, he might opt to journey to the wonderful world of Oz instead.
Raimi, who thought he’d be shooting “Spider-Man 4” this summer before Sony Pictures decided to go in a radically different direction, is considered one of the prime candidates to replace Guillermo Del Toro on the Peter Jackson-produced “The Hobbit.” While that situation plays out as MGM’s financial woes drag on, the “Drag Me to Hell” filmmakers is in early negotiations to possibly helm Walt Disney’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful.”
According to EW, Raimi was offered the job over the weekend, but hasn’t officially accepted which probably means there are salary and backend issues at play. Or, like Tom Izzo, he’s waiting for his LeBron – “The Hobbit” – to decide who it’s going to play with. He’s supposed to meet this week with Robert Downey, Jr., who is attached to play the mysterious Oz in the prequel to the classic “Wizard of Oz” (Izzo is getting no luxury from James).
Set in early 1900s Kansas, Downey, Jr.’s character stars out as a lecherous con artist whose balloon ends up in Oz after he escapes from being caught having relations with a married woman. How the film will end on a happy note with him stuck in the Emerald City is unclear, but Disney is hoping the elements create a buzzworthy hit similar to this spring’s “Alice in Wonderland.” That Tim Burton blockbuster has grossed a staggering $1 billion worldwide and made fantastical extravaganzas that can be shot in 3-D a priority for every studio in town.
More disconcerting for Raimi, “Oz” doesn’t have a greenlight yet and there are also questions on how it would fit into Downey, Jr.’s busy schedule. He’s supposed to segue from the upcoming “Sherlock Holmes 2” to “The Avengers.” Disney nor Raimi may want to wait as long as next spring after another “Holmes” is finished. [Update: an earlier version of this story incorrectly noted Downey, Jr. is starring in “Cowboys and Aliens.”]
If Raimi decides not to climb on board, Heat Vision revealed other directorial candidates include Sam “I can’t wait anymore for the next James Bond” Mendes, Timur “I can’t wait anymore for Angelina to decide whether to do ‘Wanted 2′” Bekmambetov and, egad, Adam “I’m still a hack” Shankman.