The Kingpin will now become king — or Wizard, rather. Daredevil actor Vincent D’Onofrio will play the Wiz in NBC’s Emerald City, an upcoming small-screen adaptation of the 1939 classic Wizard of Oz.
It’s been a big year for the 56-year-old actor, who, besides Daredevil, also appeared in summer blockbuster Jurassic World.
A 10-episode miniseries, Emerald City will focus on 20-year-old Dorothy Gale, played by Adria Arjona (True Detective), and her police K9 from Kansas, who get caught up in a tornado and end up in Oz. The show shines a grittier light on the magical kingdom where D’Onofrio’s wizard will rule with science and a few pacts with witches. After arriving, Gale finds herself with the fate of the kingdom in her hands amid numerous power struggles.
For a while, it looked like the show would never make it to TV. The Universal Telivision series received a straight-to-series order by NBC in 2014, but was eventually canned in August of the same year. This past April, executives at the network revived that original offer, and began casting.
On the plot front, not much is said to have changed with the project, which looks to blend a little bit of Game of Thrones into their portrayal of the classic fairy tale.
Emerald City was always high on Universal’s list of shows it desired to see come to fruition. After all, the Wizard of Oz franchise has always meant big money for the studio — heck, even the decidely mediocre 2013 release Oz the Great and Powerful (starring James Franco) grossed Universal almost half a billion dollars.
Originally, the show was being developed by Matthew Arnold and Josh Friedman, but producer David Schulner (Desperate Housewives, Do No Harm) is the one who revived the project, and will manage it alongside Shawn Cassidy (Blue Bloods). Director Tarsem Singh — who has experience in the fantasy genre having directed 2012’s Snow White fantasy/drama Mirror Mirror — is also on board.
Besides D’Onofrio and Arjona, the show is set to include Ana Ularu as the Wicked Witch of the West, Gerran Howell as Jack, Mido Hamada as Eamonn, Jordan Loughran as Tip, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Lucas.
Emerald City is expected to premiere sometime in 2016.