Netflix has tapped up-and-coming screenwriter Anna Klassen (When Lightning Strikes) to write Dorothy and Alice, which follows the fantastical friendship between two of literature’s most iconic characters — Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
Justin Merz (Disney’s Rose Red) wrote the initial draft of the script on spec when he was a schoolteacher in Santa Monica. Bryan Unkeless (I, Tonya) is producing via his Clubhouse Pictures banner, and Netflix acquired the project in 2017 as a potential franchise starter.
The original script found Dorothy Gale haunted by nightmares of Oz’s impending destruction. Sent to a home for others like her who experience troubling, vivid dreams, she soon befriends Alice, a mysterious girl who involves her in a perilous quest to not only save the worlds of imagination, but the world as we know it. However, Collider has learned that the plot has changed since the announcement about the initial spec sale, as Netflix and Unkeless want Klassen to take the project in a different direction, which, naturally, is being kept under wraps.
Klassen took to Twitter to confirm the news after her IMDb Pro profile was updated. “The Cheshire Cat is out of the bag: I’m writing Dorothy & Alice for Netflix, a fantasy adventure epic. I grew up reading these books & this project has been endlessly fun to craft – to reinvent treasured characters and explore the worlds I wanted to inhabit as a kid.”
Klassen is a former entertainment journalist who worked at Bustle, Newsweek, The Daily Beast and BuzzFeed. She was able to leave her job to pursue screenwriting full time after her cleverly-titled J.K. Rowling biopic When Lightning Strikes was voted to the 2017 Black List and the 2017 Hit List. The unauthorized script chronicles the true story of 25-year-old Joanne Rowling as she weathers first loves, unexpected pregnancies, lost jobs, and depression on her journey to create Harry Potter. Talk about a juicy role for an A-list actress! Klassen’s script earned her numerous meetings around town, and clearly, she won over executives at Netflix, where she is developing a second project as well. She’s represented by manager Bash Naran at Write Large and an all-female team of agents at WME.