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“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris developing an LGBTQ-inclusive “Wizard of Oz” remake

“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris developing an LGBTQ-inclusive “Wizard of Oz” remake
Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" Photo: Screenshot

In August, Warner Bros. announced that Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is developing a new take on The Wizard of Oz. According to Deadline, the film, which Barris will write and direct, is meant to be a modern reimagining of the story.

Now, Barris tells Variety’s Marc Malkin that he intends to include LGBTQ representation in his version.

“The original was an allegory and a reflection of the way the world was at the time with things like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl,” says Barris. “Now we’re going to turn a mirror on where we’re at right now and take disparate characters from the LGBTQ community, from different cultural communities and socioeconomic communities, and tell a story that reflects the world. I think this is the best time to do that.”

Barris’s comments suggest that his film will be a much looser adaptation of author L. Frank Baum’s 1900 American fairy tale.

“I’m nervous,” Barris continues. “Hopefully, my movie can last as long as the original does. Hopefully my movie comes out.”

Of course, the 1939 MGM musical version of author L. Frank Baum’s 1900 American fairytale starring Judy Garland has long been associated with LGBTQ culture. The story has been reimagined many times, most notably in The Wiz, a 1978 musical featuring an all-Black cast lead by Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

Another adaptation is also reportedly in the works at New Line Cinema. Last year, the studio announced that The Woodsman director Nicole Kassell would direct a new version of The Wizard of Oz.

“I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen,” Kassel said at the time. “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!”

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