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Development Watch: Kunis/Franco in Oz, DiCaprio/Scorsese's Wolf, Firth's Fair Lady (UPDATED)

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood February 18, 2011 at 7:05AM

- UPDATE 5/18: Michelle Williams will play Glinda, The Good Witch in Oz, The Great and Powerful.
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Thompson on Hollywood


- UPDATE 5/18: Michelle Williams will play Glinda, The Good Witch in Oz, The Great and Powerful.

EARLIER: The project lost Robert Downey Jr. a while back, but new life -- in the form of Mila Kunis and James Franco -- is reviving the Sam Raimi remake. Just like ABC's Oscarcast, Disney is aiming young to boost audience potential. We won't be surprised if they throw Anne Hathaway in there for good measure as Dorothy.

Rabbit Hole's playwright-screenwriter David Lindsay-Abbaire wrote the reinterpretation, in which we see the beginnings of familiar characters Evanorah/Wicked Witch of the East, her little sister Theoroah/Wicket Witch of the West (Kunis), Oz (Franco) and Glinda (?). Good news for Oz means bad news for the Hughes brothers' remake of Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s 1988 manga epic Akira. Long story short, that remake failed to nail down Brad Pitt and with primary casting left up in the air, Kunis fled. She'll be on the Oz set this July.

- Cosmopolis is mightily improved now that Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) have joined David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel, Cosmopolis, which already has lined up Robert Pattinson and Paul Giamatti. Both Binoche and Amalric's roles are yet to be announced; they play some of the people billionaire Eric Packer (Pattinson) encounters on his 24-hour journey through New York City. Colin Farrell and Marion Cotillard were initially attached, and Keira Knightley was briefly rumored to be one of Pattinson's women (his character has a wife and an affair) -- but there's no word yet on who will fill those shoes come the May 24 shoot date. Cronenberg's regular collaborators, DP Peter Suschitzy and composer Howard Shore, are on board.

- Another director keeping it in the family, Martin Scorsese, is again attached to direct an adaptation of Jordan Belfort's memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, with go-to-star Leonardo DiCaprio. They've teamed for Shutter Island, The Departed, The Aviator and Gangs of New York, the latter three of which each garnered Scorsese best director Oscar noms (including wins for director and picture for The Departed), and a nom for DiCaprio for The Aviator. The film has left big studio Warner Bros. and Ridley Scott, and will come to life via indie financing secured by DiCaprio's manager, Rick Yorn. In the vein of many Wall Street films, DiCaprio will play a substance and sex-addicted brokerage hot shot who winds up federally-convicted and banned from the securities business. But don't hold your breath, says ThePlaylist. Scorsese has Hugo Cabret to wrap, then Silence, an adaptation (written by The Age of Innocence's Jay Cocks) of Shusaku Endo's 17th-century Jesuit priest religion drama which has Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal slated to star.

Thompson on Hollywood


- More good news: Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan may match wits in Emma Thompson's overhaul of the musical My Fair Lady. The Daily Mail says Firth's improved star power and movie cred-- thanks to The King's Speech -- has made him Sony's first choice for Prof. Henry Higgins, over Hugh Grant. We say no contest: Higgins has Firth written all over it. Slight problem though: much like original Higgins Rex Harrison, Firth cannot sing (see: Momma Mia!). More details on the project and its rights issues here.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Daily Read, Martin Scorsese, Remake, Period, Musical, Drama, Books, Rob Pattinson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Colin Firth


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.