Lea Michele is ready to become a million-druple threat (I made that up just for her) by adding “author” to her skill set. And while I feel like nine out of ten celeb book deals are designed to give our eyes a rolling workout, I’m fully onboard with this one.
That’s probably because the title—Brunette Ambition—suckered me in immediately. She just got an a-men from half the population with that gem. But anyway, it’s gonna be part memoir, part how-to (achieve your dreams), and part “style guide.” There’s also going to be fitness tips, which I would encourage her to use sparingly—I kinda just want to bask in the young-diva glory and not be interrupted by toning stuff. My idea of appropriate diva fitness and health is Marilyn Monroe’s five-pound weights/hot fudge sundae routine. Maybe that’s just me.
In any case, yes, let’s get the one inevitable bit of backlash out of the way: A 26-year-old? Writing a memoir? I know, I know. But since it’s going to be more focused on her dogged transformation from child star to young-Hollywood heavyweight, I think it’s OK to invoke the term here.
Also, Lea, if you could just include a step by step on how to make your house look just like this—that would be awesome.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Summertime Entertainment’s stereoscopic 3-D, CG-animated adaptation of the 1989 book finds Dorothy (voiced by Glee‘s Lea Michele) returning to Kansas to witness the devastation wrought by the tornado that carried her away, only to be winkled back to Oz, which is also in serious trouble. Her friends Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and Cowardly Lion (Jim Belushi) have vanished, and wicked Jester (Martin Short) is scheming for control of the decaying land. En route to find her friends, Dorothy teams up with a new trio: A marshmallow man who can’t think for himself (Hugh Dancy), a bossy china doll (Megan Hilty) and a tugboat with multiple personalities (Patrick Stewart).
The impressive cast is further augmented by Bernadette Peters as the voice of Glinda, the good witch, and Oliver Platt as a wise, argyle-clad owl. The film is directed by Disney animation veterans Dan St. Pierre (also production designer) and Will Finn (also story supervisor). St. Pierre’s feature directing credits include Everyone’s Hero and Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey; Finn co-wrote and co-directed Home on the Range for Disney. The story was adapted by Randi Barnes, with screenplay by Adam Balsam and Barry Glasser. Toon Town vet Bonne Radford produced with Summertime’s Ryan and Roland Carroll–Neil Kaufman, Greg Centineo and Rene Torres served as exec producer.
This is Carroll’s first dip into the animated sea, having worked in live-action film with his brother Roland for a number of years.
Bonne Radford, whose credits include production controller duties on the American Tail films, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Land Before Time as well as live-action blockbusters like the Back to the Future and Indiana Jones franchises, came aboard Legend just as development was kicking off. Being a fan of the world of Oz and especially the 1939 Judy Garland film, Radford says she was most excited by the shared enthusiasm of the crew.
Radford notes that the production pacing was fairly typical in her animation experience: a year for the script, another for pre-production and animatics, then three years in production.
The Sound of Magic
In addition to the venerable voice cast and experienced raft of production talent, the music of Legend is a critical aspect of the film.To honor the world’s stage and filmic legacy, the producers put a great deal of emphasis on creating a rich, distinctive and timeless soundtrack to bring Oz and its inhabitants to life.
“We were lucky Bonne introduced [music supervisor] Vicki Hiatt early in the process while we were creating the script,” says Carroll. Hiatt has supervised the music for several animated features: Open Season, Madagascar, Curious George and The Road to El Dorado. “It was important to her to make it very eclectic. We wanted a kind of Americana feel to it, but she branched off and kept everything very different at the same time.”
Clarius Entertainment will release Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return domestically on May 2, 2014. The film will be screening privately at Cannes, and is an official selection of the Annecy film festival. Learn more at www.legendsofozmovie.com. (x)