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James Franco to Play the Wizard of Oz

Oscar-nominated actor James Franco will play the man behind the curtain. Deadline reports that the Academy Awards co-host will play the title role in the Disney prequel, Oz: The Great and Powerful. The video embedded above shows Franco with actress Anne Hathaway, his co-host at the Oscars.

Spiderman director Sam Raimi, producer Joe Roth, and screenwriters Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire will also join the project. In addition, Flavorpill says that Black Swan actress Mila Kunis will play the younger version of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Flavorpill speculates: “we can’t help but wonder if this is a weird attempt by Disney to make Oz into a sexy franchise, a la Pirates of the Caribbean. Nothing against those films, but when you’re dealing with a beloved original that’s as ingrained in the collective subconscious as The Wizard of Oz.”

Besides continuing to pursue his PhD in English at Yale, Franco will also be involved with a number of film projects in the next year. He will direct, script, and star in The Broken Tower, a biopic about poet Hart Crane. In addition, Deadline confirmed that he will star alongside Nicole Kidman in a Broadway play revival of Tennessee Williams‘s Sweet Bird of Youth.

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