The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Lands Watchmen Director

The fictional world of Oz has been at the center of a slew of film adaptations over the years, each of which try to bring something new to L. Frank Baum's iconic tales. New Line is reportedly developing another new incarnation of the franchise -- and it looks like they've enlisted an impressive director to do so. According to a new report, Nicole Kassell has officially been set to direct a new adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The report indicates that Kassell was chosen after an "extensive" search for a director and that the studio was impressed with her work in overseeing HBO's Watchmen, which she served as an executive producer of and directed three episodes of. Previous screenplay drafts of the project were written by Darren Lemke (Shazam!, Gemini Man) and the duo of Neil Widener and Gavin James (San Andreas 2, Now You See Me 3).

Kassell has been directing for over two decades, helming films like The Woodsman and A Little Bit of Heaven. Prior to Watchmen, she's had a prolific career directing for television, with episodes of Westworld, The Americans, The Following, and Better Call Saul under her belt.

"I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen," Kassell said. "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."

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz -- which was initially published in 1990 -- went on to inspire a series of thirteen additional books. While the original novel is now in the public domain, the iconic 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz is owned by Warner Bros., which New Line serves as a label of. This would hypothetically allow Kassell's Wonderful Wizard of Oz to reference elements of the musical film, which Oz-inspired projects at other studios have been unable to do.

wonderful wizard of oz nicole kassell
(Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)

What do you think of Kassell being brought on to direct The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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h/t: Deadline