Shankman Pursues Disney’s Oz Prequel

“The Great Powerful”, the prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” setup at Disney Pictures, is proving to be a job that many hope to land.

The LA Times reports that “Hairspray” and “Bedtime Stories” director Adam Shankman has left Disney’s “Bob the Musical”, to which he’s been attached for over a year, in the hopes of landing the ‘Oz’ gig.

Shankman however will be jockeying against some big names, his main rival being “American Beauty” and “Revolutionary Road” director Sam Mendes who has previously been linked to this origin story that is targeting Robert Downey Jr. to star as the Wizard before he came to the land of Oz. Mendes was set to direct the next James Bond film later this year, but with MGM’s financial woes putting that project on indefinite hold his chances of taking the Oz gig look much more likely.

Both are very different directors who’ll no doubt have quite different takes on what’s being described as a 3D “broad adventure story”. Shankman’s earlier work has skewed generally quite young, but the helmer has recently made comment that he wants to do projects with a more mature sensibility.

Shankman’s departure from “Bob” also puts that project’s future in an uncertain state as the new Disney regime apparently doesn’t consider it a high priority.