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Sam Raimi in early negotiations to direct 'Wizard of Oz' prequel

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Who needs Spider-Man when you can play in the land of Oz? Sources tell EW that former Spider-Man director Sam Raimi is in very early negotiations with Walt Disney Studios to direct The Wizard of Oz prequel called Oz, The Great and Powerful. Raimi, who was released from making Spider-Man 4 earlier this year by Sony Pictures, met with Disney on Friday and was offered the job over the weekend. Should the two parties come to a financial agreement, Raimi would begin pre-production shortly. There is no start date yet since the project hasn’t yet been greenlit. Disney wouldn’t confirm.

Raimi, who began his career directing horror films like the Evil Dead series, is supposed to meet with Robert Downey Jr. this week to discuss a starring role for Downey in the film. The actor, who has just seen his latest film Iron Man 2 catapult to a $300 million gross, would star as a fast-talking circus huckster who is transported through a freak tornado to the land of Oz, where they believe he is the Wizard they’ve been waiting for. Raimi and Downey’s reps both declined to comment.