Tarsem Singh to direct Emerald City, NBC's dark take on The Wizard of Oz

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Feb 25, 2019, 2:03 PM EST (Updated)

The director of movies like The Cell and Immortals is setting his sights on the land of Oz next.

According to Collider, Tarsem Singh is now slated to direct all 10 episodes of a limited series for NBC called Emerald City. The show is described as a dark variation on The Wizard of Oz, with a 20-year-old Dorothy Gale finding her way over the rainbow after trying not to run away from home, but to break into an underground facility of some kind to learn about her biological mother.

Stealing a police dog in the process, she crashes headlong into a tornado while attempting to escape and wakes up in Oz, where life is decidedly darker than in the Judy Garland movie and the land is wracked by a "bloody battle" between competing kingdoms (see complete synopsis below).

While it might not be the Oz you remember, this sounds like fertile ground for Singh, whose eye for incredible, surreal imagery has produced a handful of truly beautiful films (even his new sci-fi thriller, Self/less, is a pleasure to look at even though it takes place in more or less the present day).

Emerald City was announced back in January 2014 and touted at that summer's Comic-Con, but work on the show was delayed due to disagreements between the network and then-showrunner Josh Friedman. The latter is now gone, replaced by David Schulner, although despite the 10-episode commitment NBC has not confirmed a premiere date (this is separate also from the Syfy miniseries announced a couple of years ago).

Are you ready for a twisted new take on this classic tale, filtered through the directorial style of Tarsem Singh? Read the full synopsis below (from 2014) and sound off after that.

Desperate for clues that will lead to the identity of her biological mother, a young woman breaks into a sinister underground facility somewhere in the Midwest. Unable to complete her mission and surrounded by security, our feisty heroine steals a K9 police dog and drives away into the night… and headlong into the path of a raging tornado. In the blink of an eye, she is transported to another world, one far removed from our own — a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic, and a bloody battle for supremacy. This is the fabled Land of Oz in a way you’ve never seen before, where wicked witches don’t stay dead for long and 20-year-old Dorothy Gale becomes a headstrong warrior who holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. You’re not in Kansas anymore, and this is not your Grandmother’s Oz.

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