Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great And Powerful uncovers the origins of the beloved wizard character first brought to life in L. Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. As a cinematic prequel to the book, the eye-popping action follows the story of Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics. When Diggs is hurled away to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot – until he meets three witches, who aren’t convinced he’s the great wizard everyone is expecting. Reluctantly drawn into epic problems facing Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late.
Sam Raimi is the acclaimed director behind the action-packed spectacle, which boasts a stellar cast including James Franco as Oscar Diggs, the predestined wizard; Mila Kunis as the tormented young witch Theodora; Rachel Weisz as Theodora’s older sister, Evanora, the witch who rules over the Emerald City; and Michelle Williams as Glinda, the good witch.
Is it true that you trained with acclaimed Las Vegas magician Lance Burton in order to tackle the role of Oscar Diggs?
"That’s very true. We shot the movie in Detroit and they hired Lance Burton to come out and train me there. [Oz The Great And Powerful director] Sam Raimi was very insistent that I have two weeks of magic training, so I went to Detroit two weeks early in order to do that" said Mr. Franco.
What magic tricks did you learn?
"Lance taught me a lot of tricks, so I got to the point where I could materialize doves out of nowhere. I start with a flame in my hand and then I turn it into a dove. Or I take off my gloves and I turn them into a dove. I also know a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ trick and other things like that. I did all that work and then the scenes that were going to feature the magic tricks turned out to be too long, so they were quickly cut from the finished movie. We never got to see them on the big screen" said Franco.
Do you know enough tricks to entertain at a children’s birthday party?
"Sure, I could do that! A lot of the tricks involve intricate preparations, so I would need an assistant like Lance Burton to help me set them up – but I could pull it off. If you have any kids parties and you want to pay me a lot, I’ll definitely come and do it. [Laughs]" said James.
What did you enjoy the most about working with the various witches of Oz: Theodora, played by Mila Kunis; Evanora, played by Rachel Weisz, and Glinda, played by Michelle Williams?
"It was great because they all played very different witches, so the scenes that I played with all of them were all very different. With Mila’s character, Theodora, I play more of a seducer and charmer. Rachel’s character is trying to dupe me, so I play a little bit more of a fool or a buffoon with her. And then with Michelle’s character, Glinda, it’s more of a straightforward romance. It was nice to have that variety" said Franco.
How would you describe your female co-stars?
"I got to work with three of the best actresses working today, which was very exciting. They are all very different actresses, and they all played very different parts. But one thing I can say about them all is the fact that they are very good at doing research and background on their characters. I think Michelle read most of the books and did a bunch of research that really manifested itself in her scenes. She was very focused on detail. And with Rachel, we only had one or two scenes together, but she was very good at improvising and looking for alternative takes once we’d got the scripted scene down" said James.
You’re an actor, a producer, a writer, a director and a teacher… Is there anything left for you to conquer in the entertainment industry?
You can catch James Franco in Oz the Great and Powerful - available on Blu-ray Combo Pack at reatailers nationwide - June 11, 2013.There’s always more to learn. I guess it would be cool to write a play one day. I love the theater and I love going to plays, so that might be good for me. I’ve only acted in small theaters in Los Angeles, but I like acting on stage in front of live audiences, so that would also be great. Who knows what’s next? I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see..." said James Franco.
Oz the Great and Powerful is the perfect pick for your next family movie night!
Official Oz The Great and Powerful Blu-ray Combo Pack Synopsis
On June 11th OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack! A must-own for any home entertainment collection, Oz The Great And Powerful on Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) brings the epic adventure to life with its vibrantly colorful picture and sound, and boasts a sensational variety of never-before-seen bonus materials including:
- “The Magic of ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ Second Screen Feature” that provides viewers with an immersive opportunity to journey into the fantastical lands of Oz
- James Franco’s personal story of his journey to the land of Oz that is produced and directed by the Oscar® nominated star himself
- Golden Globe® nominee Mila Kunis’ makeup metamorphosis which is hosted by Academy Award®-winning makeup artist Howard Berger
- A back-stage journey through each of the visual effects process that brought China Girl to life including an interview with Joey King - and MUCH more!
Ready to experience the magic of Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful? Disney is very generously offering (1) One Savvy Mom reader a Oz The Great and Powerful Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) [ RV $29.99].
Disclosure: Our thanks to Disney for providing a Blu-ray combo pack for review and an additional Blu-ray Combo pack through giveaway, for a reader. All thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.