It is with a heavy heart that I bring you this bad news today. The Wizard Of Oz is getting a remake. Once you read who is spearheading it, you will realise that cinema has managed to sink even lower than we ever thought possible.
Warner Bros just hired Kenya Barris to write and direct the reimagining destruction of one of cinema’s greatest ever movies. His Khalabo Ink Society will be producing.
Who Is Kenya Barris?
Kenya Barris is an American film and television writer, producer, director, and actor. He is best known as the creator of the ABC sitcom Black-ish. Black-ish follows an upper middle class black family and revolves around the family’s lives, as they juggle several personal and sociopolitical issues.
The show ran for eight seasons from 2014 to 2022. Rotten Tomatoes consensus states:
“Although it seems uncertain of its target audience, Black-ish ingratiates with a diverse cast and engaging cultural issues.”
There were two spin-off shows – Grown-ish and Mixed-ish. Rotten Tomatoes described Grown-ish as:
“Grown-ish quickly works through its growing pains to establish itself as its own socially aware show with a fresh perspective on the college experience.”
The second spin-off is a prequel called Mixed-ish. Described as:
“Mixed-ish chronicles Rainbow Johnson’s childhood years as she recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the 1980s.”
Barris’ Upcoming Projects
Kenya Barris has a show currently in post-production called You People. Barris and Jonah Hill wrote the original comedy together, with a cast that includes Hill, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lauren London, Nia Long and David Duchovny.
This follows a new couple and their families, who find themselves examining modern love and family dynamics amidst clashing cultures, societal expectations and generational differences.
Barris is also working on the unwanted remake of the sports comedy White Men Can’t Jump. A feature film about comedy legend Richard Pryor, and an animated movie inspired by the songs and music of Bob Marley. This will be a feature-length musical about Juneteenth that he has teamed with Pharrell Williams to produce.
The Wizard Of Nonsense
So it’s pretty safe to say going by Barris’ track record that the 21st Century version of The Wizard Of Oz is going to be a two hour cinematic lecture about black people in a magical land that is ruled by an evil white man.
You can guarantee that what made the wonderful escapism of 1939’s classic will be removed. An immortal movie filled with inspiration, catchy songs, innocence and all round good family fun.
Of course there was messaging involved, that was the point of the movie. It was about learning about yourself, standing up for what’s right and accepting different people. Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Lion, all working with Dorothy for a better cause.
However, it was handled with care and class. Sadly, today’s version will be the equivalent of being smashed in the face with a claw hammer whilst someone kicks you in the nuts.
I’d wager good money that Barris’ take will not be reminiscent of 1978’s The Wiz that starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor. A fairly awful movie but damn did it have charm and funky soul music.
No doubt the new versions of the songs will feature twerking, rapping and highly suggestive sexual content. All the while being overproduced to give us nothing memorable after 15 minutes of leaving the theatre.
And just when we all though David Zaslav was to be the saviour of Warner Bros, he goes and pulls this one out of his arse. Awesome work Dave.