It may not fit the standard definition of animation, but the late Jim Henson and crew could breathe life into inanimate felt and foam objects perhaps as well as any animator and the latest chapter in the Henson legacy will be a Muppet version of The Wizard of Oz, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade reports that pop artist Ashanti will star and Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino will make a cameo in the telepic, scheduled to air on ABC as part of its The Wonderful World of Disney.
Based on the classic L. Frank Baum novel, the puppet-populated Oz will tell the story of Dorothy Gale (Ashanti), an aspiring performer who is transported to a magical world where she teams up with the Scarecrow (Kermit the Frog), the Tin Man (Gonzo) and the Cowardly Lion (Fozzie Bear) to defeat the Wicked Witch (Miss Piggy). Queen Latifah (Chicago, Bringing Down the House) is in negotiations to play Auntie Em. Tarantino will reportedly play himself, popping up to tell Kermit how the climactic fight scene should be shot.
Kirk R. Thatcher will return to the helm after directing 2002s Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. Jim Henson Co. will produce the pic in association with the Muppets Holding Co. and Touchstone TV, with Jim Henson Co. co-chairmen and co-CEOs Lisa Henson and Brian Henson serving as exec producers. Producing duties will be handled by Martin G. Baker and Warren Carr.
Prior to Disneys acquisition of The Muppets property in February, the Oz movie was in development at Fox TV.