Eddie Redmayne has a thing for wizards. He is already starring as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, the highly anticipated Harry Potter spin off, and is now set to embark upon another magical journey — this time it will be more yellow brick road than Diagon Alley. Redmayne has been cast as Wizard Of Oz author L. Frank Baum, in a biopic about the writer's life according to The Tracking Board. Though the movie will likely have some magical elements, I wouldn't expect a technicolor dreamscape. This movie is all about the years leading up to creating the Oz book series, and will likely be focused on Baum's personal life and professional struggles.
This should be an interesting departure from all of the Oz-related media we've seen so far. There have been 46 different Wizard of Oz adaptations since the classic 1939 movie was released, pulled from the vast source material of Baum's 14 books. While I love the adventures of Dorothy and Tin Man as much as the next gal (though not so much with The Great And Powerful) it's clearly time to mix it up, and Redmayne is proving himself to be the new biopic king.
He's already proven to be excellent tackling real life subjects, having won a Screen Actor's Guild Award, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Will that same magic translate over to the Baum project? I'm guessing yes. He's got the chops, and the film is being developed by Finding Neverland producer Nellie Bellflower and Michael Mislove, who have already shown they know their way around an author's story.
Redmayne has been on an (almost) non-stop hit role since taking on Marius in Les Miserables and he's been smart about the roles he's taken now that his stock has risen considerably. Between this, the next three Fantastic Beasts movies, his role as the transgender woman (Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe) in The Danish Girl, Redmayne is cleaning up the plum roles in Hollywood. It is almost enough to make up forget about the cartoonist Balem from Jupiter Ascending, almost. A few more Oscars and we'll get there.