I haven't updated my blog in awhile.
I've actually started writing my own screenplay for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and so far have actually gotten pretty far into it. The Wicked Witch of the West is dead, and they're just about to re-enter the Emerald City. I cut out the Winged Monkey's story because it doesn't work in a film. I left in the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman's stories (the latter expanded with information from The Tin Woodman of Oz) because they are principal characters, and showing their stories makes the fulfillment of their wishes from the Wizard all the better. While the Winged Monkeys obviously want to be free from the power of the Golden Cap of Queala (as I call it in the screenplay), they are not principal characters, and thus their story will not be as meaningful as that of Dorothy and Co. (Perhaps a short about them would work, though, climaxing with Glinda presenting them with the Golden Cap, and they promise to be of service.)
I set up the character of Dorothy as a young girl who loves her guardians very much, and thus doesn't want them to worry about her, which is why she wants to go back to Kansas, as she tells the Scarecrow...
"DOROTHY: It's not Kansas I want to go back to. It's where my Aunt Em and Uncle Henry live, and they care about me, and I care about them. I want to go back so they won't worry about me. It's because our homes are where there are people who love that we'd rather live there than anywhere else. There is no place like home.
"SCARECROW: I don't really understand."
To help this theme throughout the screenplay, Dorothy carries with her a portrait of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on their wedding day. The picture is introduced in Kansas, where Aunt Em tells Dorothy about all the dissappointment they've had with living on the prarie. (This is all in Baum's book, I just had to bring it out.) Dorothy finds the portrait when she is packing her basket to leave the "crashed" house to follow the Yellow Brick Road. The Tin Woodman later comments that "If I had a family like that, I'd want to go back." When Jellia Jamb shows Dorothy her room in the palace and Dorothy is left alone, she unpacks her basket and finds the picture and says "I'm coming home as soon as I can, Aunt Em. You, too, Uncle Henry."
There are many little "enhancements," but the characters all do the same things (unlike the new Narnia's treatment of the character of the Fox) they do in the book. They just do some extra things, too. Example: when they are attacked by the Witches' wolves, the Lion stands between them and Dorothy, the Scarecrow distracts them, and the Tin Woodman axes them.
I was tempted to go overboard on the violence and disgusting content (Tin Woodman killing a total of 41 animals, the Scarecrow versus the crows, the Lion's battle, an old woman dissolving into a puddle of ooze) but abstained. I even had the Tin Woodman not kill the Wildcat who is chasing the Queen of the Field Mice, but instead throws it in the River where it swims to the surface, but is swept away by the current.
When I complete the screenplay, I'm thinking of starting a petition to show the results to film companies I'd send it to, so they'd know that this screenplay has some interest in it, and interest means these people would want to see a finished film, and likely tell their friends, relatives, etc. To promote the petition, I'm thinking of making a video with my own artwork of scenes from OZ with the track "Flying" from the 2003 film version of Peter Pan playing. Screens of text, "The story that readers have loved for over 100 years returns to the screen with new life. YOU'VE NEVER SEEN OZ LIKE THIS! Support the screenplay. Sign the petition."
Well, here's to Baum!