Ever since he first watched the “Wizard of Oz” on a VHS tape at age 3, Angelo Thomas has been captivated by the power and magic of the story.
So much so that the now 16-year-old Holy Cross High School sophomore has written a sequel of sorts to the famous film and has started a campaign on the website Indiegogo.com seeking $75,000 to help fund the animated musical production.
“Yellow Brick Road” is an original story that takes place 10 years after the conclusion of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“It’s not a direct sequel but (one) that works on its own,” Thomas said in an interview last week. “It takes the best elements (of the original) and makes something that is fresh and unique.”
He said his screenplay has a lot of fantastical elements, such as witches and magic, but at its heart it’s a human story.
“It’s about second chances and what it means to grow up. As a teenager, I’m going through a lot of that myself … so I think it’s important that my story is still grounded and reflects who I am and what I want to express,” he said.
Thomas noted that the writing process has been a healthy outlet for him.
“I’m a quiet person. It’s a way to express myself,” he said. “I’ve always been really independent. I’m not really good at sports or other things people measure as successful. I’m trying to prove myself.”
Thomas acknowledged the campaign, which was launched on the crowd-funding site Jan. 5, is ambitious. Production on the film will begin when the campaign concludes March 6, regardless of funding, he said.
Thomas said the film has gained the attention of a few private investors, also.
In addition, Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Disney’s “Kim Possible” and star of “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway has agreed to work on the project.
Leigh Scott, who directed the 2012 miniseries “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz,” will serve as producer and co-director.