EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros just set Kenya Barris to write and direct Wizard of Oza reimagining of the fantasy classic, with his Khalabo Ink Society producing.
We all know the story from the 1939 film, but Barris is keeping the creative details close to the vest. It will be a modern reimagining of the iconic musical. His deal closed last week. Sheila Walcott is overseeing for the studio.
Deal comes as the Black-ish creator is in post-production on his feature directorial debut, You People. Barris and Jonah Hill wrote the original comedy together, with a slamming cast that includes Hill, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lauren London, Nia Long and David Duchovny, among others.
Next month, Barris will launch Entergalatic, a television event that he co-created with Kid Cudi. The first-of-its-kind project is inspired by the Grammy winner’s upcoming album of the same name and combines adult animation, music, fashion and art to tell a story about modern Black love in New York City.
Barris has been leaning more into features, including Girls Trip and Coming 2 America. Upcoming is a remake of the sports comedy White Men Can’t Jump; a feature film about comedic icon Richard Pryor that Barris is writing to direct and produce; an animated movie inspired by the songs and music of Bob Marley; and a feature-length musical about Juneteenth that he has teamed with Pharrell Williams to produce. Barris has also expanded into podcasts and music (with the launch of his Khalabo Music label last year), as well as studio ownership with BET Studios. He is a principal partner of BET Studios.
Barris is repped by CAA, Artists First and attorney Gregg Gellman.