James Franco Closes Deal To Star In Oz Great And Powerful

By Katey Rich 2011-02-25 11:29:15discussion comments
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Just two days before he hosts the Oscars ceremony, James Franco has secured yet another high-profile gig. Deadline reports that he's closing his deal to star in Oz: Great And Powerful, confirming reports from last week that he and Mila Kunis were in talks to join the giant Disney project. Franco will star as the titular wizard, who's actually a con man who crash lands in Oz after a ballooning accident. After hooking up with Glinda the Good Witch he conspires to kill off her sister, Theodorah, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West and possibly to be played by Mila Kunis (though there's no word on her completing a deal).

Production is set to start in July, and Deadline has actually managed to figure out how that will fit into Franco's schedule, which is insanely packed with a lot of different big ideas that may never get made. First he'll be working with Noah Baumbach on the Greenberg director's next film When We're Young, then move on from that to Oz in the summer. In the fall he'll star on Broadway opposite Nicole Kidman in the Tennessee Williams play Sweet Bird of Youth, all while continuing to take classes at Yale. Beyond that he's got any number of projects in mind to take on next, from plans to direct an adaptation of As I Lay Dying to some kind of artsy take on Three's Company.

Between Oz and this fall's Rise of the Apes Franco is turning back to the kind of blockbuster filmmaking he seemed to conclusively abandon once the Spider-Man movies wrapped up. Is he doing it to get the money to make his more personal, weirder projects, or does he think he can bring something to them that we didn't see in the Harry Osborn days? The guy is continually fascinating to watch either way, and now we'll get the chance to do it while checking out Sam Raimi's next project too. It's a win-win.
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