"The Witches of Oz follows the exploits of the grown Dorothy Gale, now a successful children's book author, as she moves from Kansas to present day New York City. Dorothy quickly learns that her popular books are based on repressed childhood memories, and that the wonders of Oz are very, very real. When the Wicked Witch of the West shows up in Times Square, Dorothy must find the inner courage to stop her." [IMDb]
>interview with director Leigh Scott
>facebook group for film
>production update (Feb 26,2011)
>update June 20
July 5, 12. 2011 on Syfy UK
(other dates yet to be determined)
(as indicated by director on facebook, also it's planned as a 2 part miniseries for tv besides a feature film format)
Update - it's not going to be a 3D film which is fine by me!
A friend just asked me if I like horror films which I do not but since I love Oz, I would be willing to give this one a try! I do hope it's not too creepy... It does seem to have elements of steampunk which piques my interest!
Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) plays Princess Langwidere
Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) plays Nick Chopper
Eliza Swenson plays Billie Westbrook - aka Wicked Witch of the West
[Article originally posted in ctpost.com]
BRIDGEPORT -- It's not a yellow brick road, but Dorothy and her friends are living a new adventure on the pavement of Bank Street.
The past two weeks have brought an unusual amount of nighttime activity -- lights and cameras and fog machine, oh my -- to downtown Bridgeport, where a film production crew is shooting a "Wizard of Oz" spin-off supposedly set in Manhattan.
In a part of the city where streets are usually deserted after nightfall, "The Witches of Oz" has brought to life flying monkeys, a screaming wicked witch and a grown-up Dorothy during the filming of some of its most dramatic climax moments.
Saturday night will be the crew's last night filming in the city for this month, before they take a Christmas break and return for one day in January, then move on to other spots in the state, including Norwalk and Easton, said Director Leigh Scott. They have already filmed a bit in Norwalk and Stamford.
Scott said he's "called in a lot of favors" to make the low-budget movie with some well-known actors he'd worked with before, including Christopher Lloyd, Billy Boyd and Lance Henriksen. He's hoping for a small theater release in late spring or early summer 2010.
In the movie, Dorothy has traded the yellow brick road of Oz for the yellow taxis of Manhattan, where she works as a children's book author. But when evil begins to seep into her New York City reality, her modern-day world collides with the dream world of Oz and her friends, everyday folks, surprisingly surface as the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Man to battle the Wicked Witch of the West, who is played by Ridgefield resident Eliza Swenson.
Connecticut native and Staples High School graduate Lloyd, of "Back to the Future," "The Addams Family" and "Taxi" fame, plays the wizard.
"It's like Harry Potter meets Devil Wears Prada," said production supervisor Laura Hill, who lives in Norwalk. "We all came together and said, 'Let's do this.' We really are a family. We've got a good spirit on set."
Many of the production crew, including Scott and Hill, and Swenson moved from Louisiana this year to work on the film and establish a Norwalk-based production company. Many are California natives.
Although there's no place like home and Bridgeport is a far cry from California, Louisiana or Kansas, for that matter, Hill said the crew has enjoyed working in the city, where officials have been extremely accommodating and pleasant to work with.
"We're not changing any signage, so the locals will know what's what," she said.
Mayor Bill Finch said he's pleased to welcome the production company.
"Film crews generate a lot of excitement, especially when they're in the midst of our downtown where residents, employees of areas businesses and visitors can see them at work," Finch said. "Our local businesses benefit from their patronage, and of course, it's always fun to see Bridgeport up on the big screen."
Scott said he chose Bridgeport because of its old-time architecture and affordable cost.
"These old bank buildings are great -- they just look great on film, " he said. "It's coming out really well."
The frigid temperatures during the shooting of some dramatic scenes Wednesday and Thursday meant there was no expensive digital imaging needed to show actors' breath in the night air, he added.
Scott said he also chose Bridgeport in hopes of helping the area's less-affluent communities by patronizing local businesses and employing locals as extras. The production crew is also renting a ground-level space in the Bank of America building nearby.
The filming is entirely funded by Connecticut investors, and the group is partnering with Palace Digital Studios in Norwalk, he said.
The movie is "something different," Scott said, explaining that he's breaking away from the cynicism typical of many recent independent films and drawing his inspiration from 1980s films like "Labyrinth" and "The Dark Crystal."
Instead of Dorothy going to Oz, this time Oz comes to her. But, like in the 1939 film, she comes to the realization that she was "master of her own destiny the whole time," the director said.
Glenda joins the fray as more of a warrior figure this time, said California actress Noel Thurman, who plays the good witch role she believes is "every little girl's dream."
Although the movie has a bit of everything -- comedy, action, fantasy and romance -- and feels somewhat like "Back to the Future" or "Ghostbusters," it's really about relationships, said Billy Boyd, the Scottish actor well known for his role as the mischief-oriented hobbit, Pippin, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
"It's like a big sort of roller coaster ride," said Boyd, who plays a leading role in the film as Nick, a successful Wall Street man who feels something is missing in his life, meets Dorothy in a bar and becomes embroiled in her adventure. "A real fun romp. Once it kicks off it goes at 100 miles per hour."
Other actors shared Boyd's enthusiasm for the film.
"(Scott) is probably one of the biggest actors' directors I've worked with," Thurman said. "He's actually a really smart guy."
Swenson's scary witch costume, complete with hooked nose, black hat, gray-green makeup, cloudy eye contact and a patch on the other eye, attracted the attention of passersby on Wednesday night, when she shot a scene in which she appears in a smoky, surreal moment with her monkey-minions and demands in a scream: "Give me the key, Dorothy. Give me the key!""There was a little boy out there who asked me if I was the Wicked Witch," Swenson, who is co-producing the film with Chris Campbell, told fellow actors with a laugh, while warming up in a makeup trailer after the scene. "I told him no, I was Glenda. He didn't believe me."