While coming out of this mist of Halloween, I ran into one last costumed denizen of the night.... He had one of those Pyrex microwavable bowls over his head and bizarre eye-like broaches fastening his cape.... greenish to him. He was stumbling about... slipped me a disk (computer not back) and I found the following report on the Tim Burton LOST IN OZ project... so read on...
Hey Harry, Mysterio here materializing back onto the scene. So it's been a week or so since my last checking in, but alas have I got a special report for you!
With all the much anticipated hype surrounding Tim Burton's "SLEEPY HOLLOW" (can't wait myself!), I thought I'd talk a bit about Tim's NEXT project, and guess what? It's NOT a film project I'm talking about, but a little television series of sorts from the ingenious and twisted mind of Burton himself!
I'm talking about of course…
"Tim Burton's LOST IN OZ"!
Yes folks, you heard it right and you heard it here. Tim Burton is doing a television series based on the dozen or so "OZ" books (so there's a lot of material to work with here) for presumably cable, due out sometime next year.
ROAD SIGN SAYS:
SPOILER ALERT! -- MAJOR OPENING SPOILERS AHEAD -- PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
To describe what we might expect from the pilot script I read, I'll have to divulge a few spoilers. So here goes, for those of us curious to know what this is all about.
To begin with, throw out what you may remember about those previous "OZ" movies such as "Return To Oz" and the recent surrounding sequel rumors attaching Rod Steiger and Elizabeth Taylor to such said project. Can't see it happening, ever! But what I can see happening, I like, even if it's on the small screen.
To begin with, the story is set in current time, our time at a quaint little gas station, called the EMERALD CITY GAS & OIL, in the cornfields of Kansas. Here we meet a rather tired old native-American station attendant named PONCA, 43, who doesn't see much action around these parts - YET, and lives just round back in an old Winnebago.
The station isn't so much a fully functioning station as it is a little tourist spot for passerby's to get gas, and such collectable trinkets as "flying monkey fridge magnets", "toto pencil sharpeners" "tin man toothpick dispensers" & "Auntie Em's muffins".
On another part of the spectrum, at Cawker High, we are introduced to a Comparative Literature class, full of kids, being taught by MISS NANCY PURINTON, 32,whose in the midst of reading aloud from a textbook to a bunch of bored students.
Inside this class, are JADE WELLING, 17, beautiful, cheerleader-type, and THEO ALRED, 16, whose madly, secretly, infatuated with Jade and her good looks. The two are somewhat opposites each a bit antagonistic with one another.
Today's a special day, as after school, the class has agreed to take field trip to a local book museum in lieu of taking a final exam.
That then takes us to a Corvette being driven down a two-lane highway, by the cool, free-wheeling VANCE MCCARVER, 29, whose currently in the middle of lecturing his younger brother, Vince on the greater evils of marrying his girlfriend, and throwing his life away. Vance suggests going to Vegas as a test and if within 48 hours he still feels the same way about her, he'll be his best man and give them both his blessings.
Alongside the highway, they speed past KIMBER DENSLOW, 17, who's described as an "anti-dorthy of sorts" because of her piercings, dyed hair and such. She's hitchhiking alone to "wherever" and gets a quick lift from a trucker passing by.
So this sets-up and introduces us to the series regular characters from the script listing. All strangers taking different path but ultimately converging down the same road together as they all meet by way of The Emerald Gas & Oil, where as luck would have they run smack dab into a wicked black tornado that's headed their way, and quick.
Because of their situations, they all find and make quick shelter with Ponca in his winnebago, but soon enough does the tornado take it and within a surreal moment, it vanishes from the sky, leaving everything else behind but the 'Bago and it's reluctant passengers.
When our travelers awake, they find themselves in the magical, mystical, bizarre world of "OZ", where through their differences, they must find a way to work together to find their way back home.
Some of you may be thinking, "LAND OF THE LOST" here, but I can assure you, there's no dinosaurs or sleestacks here (although, that show did kick some ass back then). The imagery described within the pages, and the strange inhabitants of the world of OZ, just have to be seen to believe. It sounds VERY neat with a lot of strange, somewhat psychedelic eye-candy, and various areas into the land of OZ to be explored in each episode (the scripts even has two full maps included to help visualize the scope of OZ).
In the pilot episode the characters are told to find the yellow brick road which will then lead them to Emerald City. They figure once there, they can find the Wizard, explain their situation, and have him help send them back home. But alas, it's not so easy, as their arrival into Oz has coincided with the sudden disappearance of the Wizard, and without him, the entire kingdom is slowly creeping into chaos. Adding to that, no one in or outside of Oz has EVER seen the Wizard, which makes the task at hand all the more difficult.
The pilot is outstanding in it's setup of what I hope is to be a well-made, produced and long-running series to come.
Props to writer, TREY ("I Still Know What You Did Last Summer"-but-hope-you-already-forgot-about-it) CALLAWAY. With the help of it's Story Creators: Tim Burton, Michael Katleman & Joel T. Smith, they have crafted a smart, fun-filled, clever script and story with lots of future possibilities. And yes, the script does have elements that are very "Burton-esque" such as an army of beings called Scoodlers who are described as "two-sided and two-toned black & white" with "round heads, skinny bodies, each one uglier than the rest". These guys are mean and have the ability to spin off and detach their heads, which they use as weapons, biting their enemies.
Not exactly completely one for the kiddies, this project has "major-coolness" written all over it. Major-coolness, indeed.
Reporting "just outside" the land of OZ…
"Tim Burton's LOST IN OZ"
Written by: Trey Callaway
Story by: Trey Callaway & Michael Katleman & Tim Burton & Joel T. Smith
Executive Producers: Tim Burton, Trey Callaway, Michael Katleman & Joel T. Smith
Second Draft: 8/18/99