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‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris to Write and Direct ‘Wizard of Oz’ Remake For Warner Bros.

Kenya Barris, the creator of the hit Emmy Award-winning ABC sitcom, Black-ish, and its two spin-off series, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, has signed on to write and direct a new feature adaptation of Wizard of Oz for Warner Bros. The filmmaker will produce the movie with his production company, Khalabo Ink Society, Deadline is reporting.

Barris’ version of Wizard of Oz will serve as a modern reimaging of the classic 1939 fantasy musical. However, the filmmaker hasn’t yet publicly revealed the creative details about his reboot, whose deal closed last week. Sheila Walcott is overseeing the upcoming movie for the studio.

Warner Bros.’ and Barris’ adaptation of Wizard of Oz isn’t related to New Line’s previously announced retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New Line’s screen adaptation will be helmed by Nicole Kassell, who’s known for directing the pilot episode of Watchmen.

The deal Barris signed for his Wizard of Oz reboot with Warner Bros. comes as he’s in post-production on his feature film directorial debut, You People, which is set to stream on Netflix. He penned the script for the original comedy with Jonah Hill, who also appears in the movie. Besides the Oscar-nominated Hill, the movie’s ensemble cast also includes Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lauren London, Nia Long and David Duchovny, among others.

You People will follow a new couple and their families as they reckon with modern love amid culture clashes, societal expectations and generational differences.

Besides You People, Barris is also working on Entergalatic, a television event that he co-created with Kid Cudi. The project is inspired by the Grammy Award-winning musician’s upcoming album of the same name. The television project combines adult animation, music, fashion and art to tell a story about modern Black love in New York City.

Barris, who’s known as a television creator, scribe, helmer and producer, has also been delving into penning feature films in recent years. He wrote such movies as Girls Trip, Coming 2 America and the 2019 entry in the Shaft series.

Other upcoming projects that Barris is scribing include a remake of the 1992 sports comedy, White Men Can’t Jump. Rapper Jack Harlow is set to play the role that Woody Harrelson portrayed in the original film, Billy Hoyle.

Barris is also set to pen, helm and produce a film about comedic icon Richard Pryor. He’s also working on an animated movie that’s inspired by the songs and music of Bob Marley. The filmmaker is also working on a musical about Juneteenth that Pharrell Williams is set to produce.

Barris also has a studio ownership deal with BET Studios, where he’s a principal partner.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Karen Benardello
Karen Benardello
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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