1939’s The Wizard of Oz is one of the most iconic movies ever. Hollywood hasn’t dared remake it, but if they did, who would play Dorothy and the gang?
Ever since its release in 1939, The Wizard of Oz has continued to be regarded as one of the most beloved films of all time. The fantastical story, unforgettable songs, and entertaining characters remain huge influences on audiences to this day. But what if the film were made today?
It’s hard to imagine a movie like The Wizard of Oz being released in 2020 as it was such a ground-breaking piece of work in its time. But given how iconic the performances from Judy Garland and the rest of the cast have become, it is fun to think about which currently working actors would be chosen to fill these colorful roles and bring this amazing story to life.
9 The Wizard – Tom Hanks
Though a smaller role in the overall story, the titular Wizard of Oz is clearly an important figure for the story. He is also maybe the most fascinating as he is seen as this all-powerful being capable of anything only for him to be revealed as a trickster using a bunch of smoke and mirrors to fool everyone.
A star like Tom Hanks could really make this larger-than-life character quite exciting. He has the presence that could make him out to be a grand wizard while also being able to pull off the goofier aspect of the character.
8 Auntie Em – Margot Martindale
The fantastical story of The Wizard of Oz actually starts out in a small and quiet way as the audience is introduced to Dorothy’s life in Kansas. There we meet the people in her life, including her beloved Auntie Em. The role is not a big one, but it is important to establish Dorothy’s loving homelife.
Margot Martindale is a hugely celebrated character actor who is memorable no matter the size of her role. She would be perfect for the small part that would use her charming sensibilities to make viewers understand the sort of caregiver Auntie Em is to Dorothy.
7 Uncle Henry – Stephen Root
Along with Auntie Em, Dorothy also lives with her Uncle Henry. Once again, Uncle Henry is an example of how loving and kind her life at home is even if she does dream of something a little more exciting.
Stephen Root is another excellent character actor who has appeared in everything from Office Space to No Country for Old Men to Barry. He is an actor of incredible range and could certainly pull off this role as a kind-hearted and supportive uncle while bringing a down-to-earth quality that the part needs.
6 Glinda – Kristen Bell
When Dorothy arrives in the land of Oz, she meets all sorts of magical creatures and learns that in this world there are good witches and bad witches. She has the luck of meeting Glinda the Good Witch early on and her kind, whimsical character helps guide Dorothy on her journey.
Kristen Bell is an actor who has that sort of magical quality to her no matter what type of role she is in. She is a funny and charming presence who would deliver that magical spark needed for the fantastical world. It is very easy to picture bell in that Glinda costume with the pink dress and magic wand.
5 The Wicked Witch – Lena Headey
Though it is a fun family-friendly adventure, The Wizard of Oz also has one of the most iconic movie villains of all time in the form of the Wicked Witch. With her green face and cackling laughter, the Witch has surely been responsible for many childhood nightmares over these many decades. The movie gets an extra jolt of adrenaline every time she appears on-screen.
With her role as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, Lena Headey has certainly proved she can play the villain role with aplomb. However, with the Wicked Witch, she would also be able to let loose a little with a more fun, outrageous performance. Headey really delivers with that entertaining kind of evilness.
4 Scarecrow – Lin-Manuel Miranda
Of course, some of the most memorable characters in The Wizard of Oz are the trio of friends Dorothy makes while traveling along the Yellow Brick Road. She first meets Scarecrow, a lanky and clumsy strawman who wants to travel to Oz to ask the Wizard for some brains. He becomes Dorothy’s closest companion.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of the biggest talents working in Hollywood today. He is the creator and star of the groundbreaking Broadway musical Hamilton which has also launched his movie career. He clearly has the physicality and musical abilities to pull off this part and could bring the right sense of humor as well.
3 Tin Man – Jackson Harper
The second companion Dorothy meets on her journey is the Tin Man, an emotional tin soldier who keeps rusting himself due to the fact that he is always crying. He joins the gang of travelers on the way to the Emerald City so he can ask the Wizard for a heart.
Jackson Harper became one of the most talented performers on television in recent years with his role as Chidi on The Good Place. He has the right sensibilities to play a part like Tin Man. He is really fun playing the intelligent and caring person who is nonetheless sidelined by his own anxieties and emotions.
2 Cowardly Lion – Jack Black
The final member of the main group of friends is the Cowardly Lion. Though he initially acts like a tough bully, pushing around the others, viewers quickly learn that he is actually a big softie. He is highly embarrassed by the fact that he is the king of the forest but is actually scared of everything. Therefore, he goes along to the Emerald City with the hopes that the Wizard can give him some courage.
With manic energy, the big physical performance, and the humor of the character, Jack Black seems like the obvious modern choice to play Cowardly Lion. He is one of the most gifted comedic actors around, fully commits to the physicality of his performances, and he packs a very impressive singing voice.
1 Dorothy – Hailee Steinfeld
At the center of the wild fantasy filled with crazy characters is Dorothy, a girl who just wants to escape her seemingly dull life to experience some wonders of the world. She is a sweet, innocent, and caring young woman whom the audience cannot help but fall in love with as she and her dog Toto explore this strange and colorful land of Oz.
Judy Garland’s performance would be impossible to replace, but Hailee Steinfeld is someone who could be a worthy successor. She is a very talented young actor who can play those types of innocent and heartwarming characters so well. She is also a very talented singer which is a necessity for a role like Dorothy.
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