‘Corpse Bride’ Director, ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Animator Begins ‘Oz Wars’

Vanguard Films has tapped Mike Johnson, co-director of Corpse Bride, to helm its CG/stop-motion feature Oz Wars. Script, written by Rob Moreland and Athena Gam, is a transformation of the Oz narrative, with Dorothy caught up in a whirlwind of warrior witches, black magic, martial arts and monsters against a contemporary backdrop. Vanguard topper John Williams said new stop-motion software will enable Oz Wars to be made at “an unprecedentedly economical cost point.” Hopefully they don’t “clean up” the stop-motion like they ignorantly did in Corpse Bride. Oz Wars is an “animated action-adventure story, but unlike most animated films, it’s not just for kids,” Johnson said. “The Land of Oz will be reimagined using stop-motion to create a world that’s dark, slick, sexy and dangerous.” Johnson co-directed Corpse Bride with Tim Burton. As an animator his credits include The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.