Roger S. Baum’s Oz movie stars Kelsey Grammar, Dan Akroyd, Jim Belushi, Martin Short, and Glee‘s Lea Michele. There’s no sign of James Franco. Confused? That’s because the writer and great-grandson of Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum has his own Oz movie coming out—an animated feature called Dorothy of Oz. But the younger (relatively speaking) Baum isn’t chuffed over Disney’s adaptation of his great-grandfather’s work (all 14 of the Oz books are in the public domain now, so the Baum family doesn’t have to give their permission for the material to be used), he thinks director Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful will be “exciting.”
“I must admit that when Disney does something, they try to do it right… It looks like an exciting movie,” said Baum, talking to The Hollywood Reporter. “I always thought you’re clashing with the classic if you have live action, whereas with animation, people are not going to say ‘That’s not Judy Garland, no one can take her place.’” Dorothy, of course, doesn’t figure into the plot of prequel Oz the Great and Powerful, but perhaps Baum was just trying to sneak in a plug for his own animated Oz film, with Lea Michele in the role of Not Judy Garland. The $60 million movie will be done soon and is also set to come out some time this year.
But Baum doesn’t believe there can be too much of a good thing: “I’d always love to see Oz continue in different ways,” he says. “I think Wicked is a great example of something that is so successful,” says Baum, referring to the hit Broadway musical. Just don’t go trying to turn the elder Baum’s work into something political. Those ruby red slippers of Dorothy’s? They’re not L. Frank Baum’s secret message to for socialist’s of the world to unite. “The ruby shoes were changed in the script because they showed up better against the yellow brick road on the washed out Technicolor screens of those days,” explains Baum. “Great-granddad had them silver.”