When it was reported earlier this month that James Franco was being considered for the lead in Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great And Powerful, I kind of laughed it off. In recent weeks Franco has been mentioned in connection to pretty much every movie with a part for a 30-something male, so it's hard to take any rumor involving his name 100% seriously. Apparently this one is real.

Vulture is reporting not only is Franco signed on to star in Oz: The Great and Powerful, but he will be joined my Mila Kunis, who apparently turned down a role in the live-action Akira remake to do the film (Funny side note: James Franco has also been rumored for Akira) While Franco will be the titular Oz, Kunis will play Theodorah, best known as The Wicked Witch of The West. The script was written by David Lindsay-Abaire, the story follows Oz, a con-artist, who finds himself in the magical land after a ballooning accident. After hooking up with Glinda the Good Witch, they hatch a plan to get rid of her evil sisters. According to the report, it was Kunis' official involvement that cemented Franco's deal.

But while this is good news for the Oz prequel, Akira is now in serious trouble. Apparently director Albert Hughes is headbutting with Warner Bros. as he wants to cast the right actors for the parts in the film while the studio wants a worldwide star to anchor the movie. Apparently studio President Jeff Robinov even went as far as to phone Brad Pitt to see if he wanted the lead role of Kaneda (Pitt turned it down). The casting of Kunis, who would have played Kei, was actually supposed to be a win for Hughes, as the studio actually gave in to allow the casting.

While I still would have preferred to see Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role, it's hard to argue with the pairing of Franco and Kunis. Oz: The Great And Powerful will go into production this July.

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