Kenya Barris is creating his version of Christmas movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

The "Black-ish" writer and producer is also developing a reimagining of "The Wizard of Oz," set in Inglewood, which is located right outside Los Angeles.

The beloved Christmas movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” is getting a remake and Kenya Barris is set to spearhead its revival with his fresh perspective.

Barris, widely known for creating ABC’s popular and award-winning series “Black-ish,” announced at this year’s Sundance Film Festival that he was retelling the classic holiday movie, but centering the tale around a person of color. 

Kenya Barris attends Hip-Hop Sounds & Stories presented by NTWRK, Audible and Amazon Music in August in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

“I feel like Christmas movies are amazing, and I think the idea of taking something that has that long of a history and a tale behind it and putting an amazing piece of talent to tell that story,” Barris told Variety

“It’s a guy who’s trying to help out his community, and things are going to turn around on him,” he continued. “I think that’s the perfect story to tell for a person of color — Black or brown — to get into that because our communities have some issues and someone trying to help that community out. I think that’s the perfect vehicle to tell that story from.”

The original 1946 classic, which starred James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore and was directed by Frank Capra, recounts the experiences of an unhappy businessman who struggles with internal frustrations about his personal life and contemplates committing suicide. As he questions his existence, a guardian angel pays him a visit and provides a snapshot of how life would be different if he were not around. Once the fellow realizes the impact of his presence, he rethinks the idea of remaining alive.


Barris is also remaking “The Wizard of Oz” and confirmed to Variety that the script for his newer version is complete. 

“The original ‘Wizard of Oz’ took place during the Great Depression, and it was about self-reliance and what people were going through,” Barris said. 

His twist on Dorothy: She’s now a girl who lives in an apartment complex in Inglewood, right outside Los Angeles, called the Bottoms.

“I think this is the perfect time to switch the characters and talk about what someone imagines their life could be,” Barris continued. “It’s ultimately a hero’s journey; someone thinks something’s better than where they’re at, and they go and realize that where they’re at is where they should be. I want people to be proud and happy about where they’re from. But I want the world to take a look at it, and I hope that will come through.”

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