Hailee Steinfeld poses for photographers upon arrival at Brit Awards 2020 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.(Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
- Variety announced this week that a remake of The Wizard of Oz is in the works
- Nicole Kassell, director of the film The Woodsman and the series The Watchmen, has signed on to direct
- The role of lead character Dorothy Gale is now Hollywood’s hottest ticket. See odds and best bets for the casting of the Oz heroine below
It’s been 82 years since Judy Garland headed over the rainbow in MGM’s blockbuster fantasy film The Wizard of Oz. If Hollywood’s remake culture has taught us anything, it’s that this franchise is well overdue for a modern update.
Warner Brothers’ New Line studio has signed Nicole Kassel to direct the remake. This Oz is based on the 1939 MGM classic and L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book. The project rivals Universal’s musical Wicked, based on the Gregory Maguire Oz prequel and its subsequent Broadway show.
While some Oz fans are crying blasphemy that nobody can ever fill Garland’s ruby slippers, the more intriguing conversation is on who will play the lead role of Dorothy Gale for this remake.
Odds on Who Will Play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz Remake
Odds from February 11
In Line for the Emerald City
Stranger Things star Sadie Sink holds the best odds at +150. But does Sink have the star power to pull in audiences? Not really. But, she doesn’t have to.
The Wizard of Oz, as a century-plus-old franchise, is enough of a household name to sell itself. The studio could literally put anyone into this film and it would still be successful. Naturally, a few celebs names on the marquee certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
There’s No Place Like Home! The Wizard of Oz Remake Is in the Works: Report https://t.co/xswB5aQmA8
— People (@people) February 9, 2021
At 18, Sink is the youngest name on the list. Her fresh-faced demeanor and endearing youthful charm work in her favor for potentially landing the role of Dorothy. She’s also unknown by enough people to disappear into the role and make for a believable Dorothy.
The Wizards of Odds
Meanwhile, Hailee Steinfeld is biting at Sink’s ankles with odds of +170 herself. With an impressive musical and film resume to her credit, Steinfeld is easy to picture in the blue and white gingham dress. Keep in mind this is an actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her first full-length role in 2010’s True Grit. Steinfeld has the chops to do the job.
While she’s 24 and on the older side for playing Dorothy, Steinfeld is still quite youthful and jubilant. With a string of catchy pop tunes in her wake, she also makes for an easy casting choice in the film without needing any training on Dorothy’s singing duties.
The Walking Dead‘s Katelyn Nacon holds decent odds herself, at +230. With her long brown hair and vibrant eyes, the 21-year-old would make a decent Dorothy herself. And hey, all that experience dealing with on-set zombies definitely makes a good case for fighting off an army of winged monkeys.
93rd Academy Awards Odds Tracker
A Millennial Oz
Easily the most bankable names on the list, Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus, hold the worst odds of the bunch at +700 apiece. At 27 and 28 years old respective, these two may have aged out on the role.
Even more so, would Grande or Cyrus make a believable Dorothy? The role is associated with innocence, farm life values, and coming of age. The only selling factor for either of these two would be their powerhouse vocals. But we don’t even know if Oz will be a musical this time around or not.
Grande and Cyrus also seem better poised for playing the role if the studio decides to update the story. If this version of Oz is scaled up to be more mature with an older and more sophisticated Dorothy, either of these stars would make for a great choice to walk down the yellow brick road.
The ‘Watchmen’ director follows the yellow brick road. https://t.co/VvSMOda0oB
— HYPEBEAST (@HYPEBEAST) February 11, 2021
But in the 2021 climate, Hollywood is sticking to pretty matter-of-fact decision making. The most likely argument for the new Oz and its Dorothy is a safe bet that some folks know well enough to care about and others haven’t heard of at all.
With The Wizard of Oz as beloved as it is, the studio is going to make sure that when these shoes click three times, audiences feel like there really is no place like home. Hailee Steinfeld is the most suitable choice of the bunch.
Pick: Hailee Steinfeld (+170)
JJ De La Torre
As an active entertainment aficionado, the former Editor-in-Chief for the Capilano Courier, JJ also co-founded Lords of Dogwood, a Vancouver-based entertainment site in 2013. His writing has been found in ION Magazine, the North Shore News, and The Strand.