You may remember that Spider-Man director Sam Raimi signed up last year to direct Oz, the Great and Powerful for Disney with Robert Downey Jr. expected to play a circus wrangler who is transported by a tornado to the mysterious world of Oz. Once there he gets mistaken for a know-it-all, and eventually becomes the Wizard of Oz.
We haven’t heard any news about it since, but now it appears Robert Downey Jr. is out and Captain Jack Sparrow may be in.
From Heat Vision:
Robert Downey Jr. has fallen out of Oz, the Great and Powerful, Disney’s prequel-ish take on The Wizard of Oz tale, and the studio is discussions with Johnny Depp to step into the great wizard’s robe.
Sam Raimi is due to direct the tale of Oz as a young illusionist with a grandiose attitude who is forced to flee a traveling circus. His hot air balloon is swept up by a tornado to the land of Oz, which is run by two magical wicked witches.
Downey never had a formal deal to star but the Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes star is now not attached to the project. The question with Depp, who has a close relationship with the studio after starring in its Pirates of the Carribbean franchise and last year’s Alice in Wonderland, will be whether the timing works out.
Indeed, Depp will be re-teaming with Tim Burton in April for Dark Shadows, a gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Then there’s The Lone Ranger with director Gore Verbinski and Disney is already working on the script for Pirates of the Caribbean 5. If Depp does decide to take a trip to Oz it will likely cause The Lone Ranger to be pushed back further.
Meanwhile Downey Jr. is getting ready to shoot The Avengers and recently pulled out of Gravity opposite Sandra Bullock. Iron Man 3 probably won’t begin filming until 2012, so it looks like the actor is freeing up his schedule a bit.