“Emerald City” star Vincent D’Onofrio was so excited by a certain aspect of the NBC limited series that he signed on to the show without even reading the script.
And the reason for his enthusiasm? The chance to work once again with series director Tarsem Singh.
“It’s the only reason really,” D’Onofrio told TheWrap. “I was doing ‘Magnificent Seven’ and I heard that he was shooting this and I asked if they had cast The Wizard yet and when they said ‘No.’ I said, ‘Tell Tarsem I want to do it.’ I hadn’t read the script but just the idea of Tarsem directing drew me to it.”
Singh, known for his work in commercials and feature films like “The Fall” and “Immortals,” previously worked with D’Onofrio alongside Jennifer Lopez in the 2000 film “The Cell.” He will direct all 10 episodes of the series.
The show follows Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona) and her dog as they are transported to the dark and mysterious land of Oz. The Wizard is the leader of the Emerald City, who exists as a man of science living in a world ruled by magic.
“The whole idea of being the man behind the curtain is something we really ran with,” D’Onofrio said. “[Executive producer] David Schulner and Tarsem and I had many conversations about how we could move the character in a more intense direction by exploring his psychology a little bit. They agreed completely and David started emailing me ideas almost immediately.”
The series was originally supposed to air in 2014, but creative differences within the network forced it onto the shelf. It is based on L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” novels, which have been adapted into numerous formats since their original publication, including the iconic 1939 film starring Judy Garland.
“Emerald City” airs tonight at 9 pm/8c on NBC.