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Nicole Kassell to direct a Wizard of Oz remake for New Line Cinema

Nicole Kassell at the Director's Guild of America Awards in January 2020.
Nicole Kassell accepting the Dramatic Series award for 'Watchmen' at the 72nd Directors Guild of America Awards Jan 25, 2020. (Image credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Nicole Kassell is set to direct a brand new adaptation of the Wizard of Oz.

As revealed by Deadline, New Line Cinema are the studio behind the remake. New Line holds the rights to the classic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s story, but are now seeking a fresh take on Baum’s classic tale.

Nicole Kassell has been signed up for the Wizard of Oz remake after the studio led a long search for the right director. They favoured her over the competition thanks to Watchmen, where she demonstrated her ability to adapt difficult material for the small screen.

Previous screenplay drafts for the new Oz adaptation have been written by Neil Widener and Gavin James (the duo writing the Now You See Me 3 screenplay) and Goosebumps screenwriter Darren Lemke. 

Kassell is a TV and movie director best known for directing episodes of HBO’s Watchmen (which won two Emmys and a Director's Guild of America Award), Westworld, and The Killing. She has also helmed episodes of Better Call Saul, Suits, Vinyl, The Americans and The Following. Kassell made her feature debut in 2004 with her adaptation of Steven Fechter’s play The Woodsman which starred Kevin Bacon opposite Kyra Sedgwick. 

In a statement about the Wizard of Oz remake, Nicole Kassell said: 

"I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen. 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!”

The Wizard of Oz remake will be produced by Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey alongside Marc Platt. Isaac Klausner is signed up as executive producer. No release date has been given just yet.

Elsewhere, Kassell is set to direct the pilot for The Baby for HBO. The Baby is an eight-episode horror-comedy series from co-creators Siân Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer.