One of the most overlooked contributions to cinema was not Wizard of Oz, but it’s sequel Return to Oz. Dorothy returns to the emerald city, but it’s in ruin. Along with her friends, Jack Pumpkin Head, Tik-Tok and Gump she must confront the evil Mombi and Gnome King. Oh man, it’s great. I spanked it many a times to Dorothy played by Fairuza Balk (in my younger prepubescent days) Sorry, I’m just being nostalgic. It really has nothing to do with today’s news. Except for the fact that I don’t think another “Oz” flick can topple the majesty that is ‘Return to Oz’.
So Sam Raimi‘s upcoming Oz The Great and Powerful tells the story of the origins of the Wizard, and of Oz’s infamous witches like Glinda, who becomes the Good Witch of the North, and Evanorah, who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East (The one Dorothy dropped a house on). So it’s like ‘Wicked’, but not. Production is kicking of in July and casting announcements are underway. According to Deadline, Hollywood’s new golden boy (fucker is set to be in every 2011 production) James Franco has officially been cast as the Wizard of Oz himself. This comes after a report earlier in the week in which both he and Mila Kunis were rumored for lead rolls.
He’ll be portraying “a young illusionist with a grandiose attitude who is forced to flee a traveling circus. His hot air balloon is swept up by a tornado to the land of Oz, which is run by two magical wicked witches.” Franco somehow beat out Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. who were original approached for the role. I’m assuming those two just passed or there some other kind of conflicts. I know Franco is a good actor and everything, but being picked over Downey and Depp? Eh, at least he’ll have plenty of practise at the oscars staying behind the curtain.