The battle to direct Disney's prequel to The Wizard of Oz is heating up. The Los Angeles Times' 24 Frames blog is reporting that director Adam Shankman has tossed his hat into the ring as a potential helmer for The Great Powerful -- a film chronicling the adventures of The Wizard before he wound up in Oz.

Shankman has resigned from Bob The Musical, a film about a man who hears the thoughts of those around him as musical ditties, in order to prove to Disney that the Oz prequel is the project that's most important to him. It's a risky move, as it puts him in direct competition with Sam Mendes, who was reported to be the front runner on the list of filmmakers Disney wants to direct the title.

This move puts the future of Bob into jeopardy -- a place it was already headed since current Disney management didn't seem to be in any particular rush to make it in the first place. Given a choice between Mendes and Shankman, I think most of us would pick Mendes every time. Both filmmakers have previous musical experience (Mendes received a Tony nomination for his work on a 1998 revival of Cabaret and Shankman helmed the Hairspray remake), but Mendes seems the more gifted technical director.

The Great Powerful is shaping up to be one of the biggest projects at Mickey's house. It's an adventure movie set to shoot in 3D and seems likely to get a huge marketing push as it nears release. It's potentially the kind of film that could launch or advance a career -- something Shankman is keen to do, having stated, "I want to do something more adult than kids and animals, something with a more sophisticated sense of humor." Does The Great Powerful fulfill that ambition? Only time will tell.