Lea Michele as Dorothy Gale? YES! Forget Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz is the new go-to remake! This time, we’re talking animation. And we’re also talking about a GLEEK. Read on, my pretties (and your little dogs too – if they have magical reading powers).
So, there’s going to be a new animated version of The Wizard of Oz called Dorothy of Oz and the cast includes the likes of Kelsey Grammer, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Hugh Dancy, Oliver Platt, Patrick Stewart, Megan Hilty and Martin Short (as voices). But who will voice the iconic Dorothy? Now we know! It’s going to be Lea Michele from Glee. Not only will she be the speaking voice of Dorothy Gale, she will also be contributing to musical numbers.
What you need to know about the movie, titled Dorothy of Oz is that it will be in “stereoscopic 3D” and won’t hit theaters until late 2011 or early 2012.
Some juicy (and informative) tidbits from the latest Dorothy of Oz press release are after the jump.
In the film, the title and beloved role of Dorothy Gale will be played by Golden-Globe nominated actress Lea Michele, star of television’s hit series “Glee”. Also known for her acclaimed Broadway roles in Spring Awakening and Les Misérables, Lea makes her feature film and animation voice-over debut with “Oz” and will also be providing vocals on several original musical numbers.
The new comedic book character roles of Wiser the Owl and the delicate China Princess will be respectively voiced by Oliver Platt (2012, Frost/Nixon, Nip/Tuck, Huff, West Wing), and Broadway veteran Megan Hilty (star of the musical ‘9 to 5’). “Dorothy of Oz” also marks Hilty’s second venture into Oz after a successful run as Glinda in the national tour of Wicked. British Actor Hugh Dancy (Ella Enchanted, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Black Hawk Down) will play the soft-hearted and candy-coated Marshall Mallow, and Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek) will voice the humorous old soul and adventure-seeking Tugg. Set to be a musical with its main singing talents now in place, legendary singer/songwriter, Oscar nominee and 15-time Grammy winner Bryan Adams is currently moving forward on the first songs and lyrics for the film along with writing partner Jim Vallance.
Emmy and Tony award-winning Martin Short will play the Jester, the new arch-nemesis of Dorothy and all of Oz. The Jester is “a performer without his coveted audience” and the role is rife with comedy, song, and lighthearted wickedness. Comedian/actor Jim Belushi will portray the Lion, who is reveling in his new role as guardian and protector of Oz. Continuously attempting to remove the word “Cowardly” from his moniker with little success, he is forced to overcompensate with acts of exaggerated bravado. Academy award-nominated Dan Aykroyd will be voicing the Scarecrow, who famously once sang “If I only had a brain,” but has learned one should be careful what they wish for as now he finds himself in a position of authority that is entirely unfamiliar. Emmy award-winning and current Tony-nominee Kelsey Grammer rounds out the cast as the Tin Man, who with his new found heart is literally wearing his emotions on his sleeve and now needs to carry an extra oil can due to all his weeping.
Dorothy of OZ is the first in a slated series of animated feature films by Summertime Entertainment, based on the writings of acclaimed children’s author Roger S. Baum. Mr. Baum’s work continues the legacy of his great-grandfather L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series of books, through new stories of Dorothy’s adventures in the enchanted Land of Oz, and the magical friends she meets along the way. ‘Summertime’ is a family genre entertainment company run by filmmakers Ryan Carroll and Roland Carroll, and executive team René Torres, James A. Jones, and Neil L. Kaufman. “We are very excited to be transitioning from filmmakers to creators of branded story franchises” shared James, “and are delighted to have this ideal opportunity to bring the Oz brand forward into the 21st century.”
The “Oz” sequel is being helmed by veteran animation producer Bonne Radford (who also produced Curious George, The Road the El Dorado, Balto and creatively contributed on over 20 more films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Goonies and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial). The film is directed by long-time Disney contributor Dan St. Pierre (whose various credits include Everyone’s Hero, the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and Shark Tale). Musical components will be supervised by Vicki Hiatt (Ali, Hannibal, Madagascar and Open Season), additional songs by Grammy-award winning songwriter Tift Merritt and lyricist Mike Himelstein, and Emmy-award winning composer Jim Dooley (Pushing Daisies) will contribute to the score. Rounding out the musical team will be pop choreographer Tyce Diorio, who also recently won an Emmy award for his work as a choreographer and guest judge on FOX’s hit “So You Think You Can Dance”. Dorothy of Oz is being cast by Matthew Jon Beck (Lilo & Stitch, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo) and the screenplay is written by Randi Barnes, Adam Balsam and Barry Glasser.
An interactive teaser website has been launched at www.dorothyofoz.com, and the film’s marketing campaign being run by CW3PR intends to use corresponding social networking sites to launch several online apps and activities over the coming months including a grassroots “gift a yellow brick to help re-pave the Emerald City road” viral game. A release date for the film has yet to be set, but production is scheduled to finish in late 2011.
Previously: Watch Jane Lynch of Glee getting married!