Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “The Wiz”

October 1, 2012 ‐ By


In October of 1978, The Wizard of Oz was flipped, reversed and remixed to feature an all-black cast, with musical heavy hitters like Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Lena Horne. The movie has become a cult classic but it wasn’t always that way. Check out the behind the scenes secrets of how this movie came together.

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  • AJ

    Ross was a disgrace in the film. Had she not screwed over Stephanie Mills we would have had an outstanding movie cast….

  • Mike made the movie.

  • bigdawgman

    For a kids movie, that scene at the end where all the nearly naked people are dancing around was a bit much. Enjoyed it a little too much as a kid. And why the heck was Richard Pryor’s part so small? They must have paid him a lot to act like Mr. Chicken. And why couldn’t they include the Wiz’ song (So you wanted to see the Wizard) in the movie??? That’s my favorite song from the soundtrack. Loved the movie, but the effects were lame, even back in the 70’s. Can’t believe they spend a lot of money on it. Must have spent most on the coke supply.

  • I grew up with that movie. I could relate even though i do think that she was too old for this role, but it wasn’t supposed to be a black verison of the wizard of Oz. There had to be a Dorothy who was different. I thought they’d make her a teenager just starting out. I still enjoy this movie and the message that is in it. my kids even watch it

  • RandomTandem

    you should have entered the fun fact that the thing on michael’s nose is from the Reese’s peanut butter cup lol

  • RandomTandem

    I didnt like this movie when i was a child, and I still dont.

  • ijs

    to be honest, i still like the origianl wizard of oz better than the wiz, a lot of ppl put my down for it but thats how i feel lol

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    That movie used to freak me out as a kid with the exception of the MJ parts lol. . .

  • mijac girl

    This article is so poorly written it’s shocking! Cannot believe this was actually published. I have loved the wiz for most of my life and am embarrassed to read this….

  • monica miller

    I was scared of the columns in the subway following them lol

    • Chanda

      That was also the same place where Michael’s “Bad” video was made.

  • clove8canela

    Lamut?? Who dat? You just got the whole dang name wrong. Anyway, I love the Wiz and Michael (as usual) was truly the star of that show. What an amazing spirit. Too bad he never did more movies. And I love Diana but I’ve never been a huge fan of her film work, and not only did I think she was too old, but I also hated her hair, even if it was the 70s.

    • Michael was very cute in his role. The movie just didn’t make sense though.

  • Princess D.I.E

    I remember watching this in the 90s and was so freakin excited Micheal Jackson was the scarecrow. Im not even gonna lie tho, I always wondered why Diana was Dorothy she was soo skinny she looked sick as hell. these were the days Mike and Di were homies, even lovers at one point. Mike stopped fkin wit her tho, curious ad to what happened.

  • lateshia

    I have this movie and I have to say when I had learned that Stephanie Mills was to play the role of Dorothy I was kind of surprised. Stephanie Mills would have been great for the role I’m not sure how old she was then in 1979. Diana Ross she is a good actress and singer but I do think she was too old to play Dorothy. The only thing that save this movie for me is Michael Jackson I’m forever a huge fan of Michael Jackson and I love the song “ease on down the road”. This movie is not that scary. I first saw this movie when I was 17 this was in 1999, Wizard of Oz was more scarier.

  • huh

    That’s when the truth came out Diana’s can’t sing! Her voice sounded like fingernails on a chalk board. Her tonsils had lap strain fore that part

    • Justmyopinion


  • Lia

    Oh, and them flying monkeys gave me nightmares when I was a kid!

    • IllyPhilly

      They have returned as Rick Ross! All of them are him.

      • TheLovliest…

        I always thought they looked like Lil’ Jon…

      • MamaChitChatChitterling

        Ha! Dead.

    • I agree. A creepy movie.

  • Lia

    The Wiz is my movie! Don’t sleep! Micheal had the original nose so you know he was at his best! I love the songs in it to this day.

  • The director was the famed Sidney Lumet. Who is Sidney Lamut?

    • phyre123

      sooo many typos in this article its hard to read.

  • Tankreeper

    Anybody could have played this role for the emptiness that we feel when we are lost in the world is ageless. Diana played the heck out that role and when she sang of home it was just as beautiful as when i heard Mrs. Stephanie Mills sing it on stage in the play. Regardless if u are 6,16,26 when u cant find ur way home ur equally vulnerable abd Mrs Ross, in my opinion, was a very believable Dorothy.

    • Nia

      Sorry, Stephanie Mills killed Home. Diana shouldn’t have even tried to follow in Ms. Mills footsteps.

  • I agree.. Diana was super old.. And its not so much about her age.. just that she looked too old. =/. She obviously didn’t age gracefully..

    • chaka1

      I remember seeing this in the theater as a kid. It was extremely creepy. I didn’t like it ALLLLL…

      • YEah. I agree. It was a very disfunctional movie. Like an unusual dream that didn’t really happen.

    • Well, somebody convinced Diana to do this, probably Michael if I had to bet on it. Diana looks good but I agree it didn’t mirror the original Wizard of Oz at all & came across as a strange movie especially if you had never known of the original Wizard of Oz. But then, who has not known about the original Wizard of Oz?

  • Chanda

    Now Diana Ross knew she was too old for that role. That ego of hers! And Dorothy was suppose to be 16 not 6, MN. In the original movie the Wicked Witch of the West was thought of to be “wicked” but all she really wanted were her dead sister’s shoes back(that at first weren’t red). I haven’t seen this movie in many years though.

    • RandomTandem

      the real wicked one was Dorothy! bytch runnin round stealing shoes off dead bodies lmao

    • I agree.