Off to be a wizard: Eddie Redmayne to play Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne will portray Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum in a new biopic of the prolific children’s fantasy author, reports The Tracking Board.
The film, titled Road to Oz, is based on a much-hyped screenplay by newcomer Josh Golden that was bought by studio New Line last year. It centres on Baum’s early life and the development of his hit 1900 novel, originally titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was partly inspired by the author’s sickly niece Dorothy. Redmayne recently won the starring role in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and will appear as the pioneering transgender artist Lili Elbe in the upcoming Tom Hooper period drama The Danish Girl. The British actor was catapulted into the spotlight after winning the best actor Oscar in February for his role as Stephen Hawking in the biopic The Theory of Everything. Born in 1856 into a rich New York Methodist family, Baum had a highly colourful life. After early forays into the theatre, and as the author of a book about his youthful interest in fancy poultry breeding, he moved west to the territory which would eventually become known as South Dakota in 1888, working as a store owner and later a newspaper editor. During this period Baum wrote a controversial piece calling for the wholesale extermination of the Native American peoples from the US, though some believe his article may have been designed as a Swiftian satire designed to inspire sympathy for its subject.
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