James Franco 'excited' by "Oz the Great and Powerful"

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A prequel to L. Frank Baum's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and the 1939 film adaptation, this 2013 3D fantasy adventure follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, as he's whisked away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking.
March 4th, 2013

James Franco was ''excited'' to revisit his childhood in 'Oz the Great and Powerful'.

The 34-year-old actor plays the titular wizard in Disney's upcoming fantasy flick and was not only drawn in by director Sam Raimi's involvement in the feature, who he had worked with during the original 'Spider-Man' trilogy from 2002-2007, but also because the film appeared to ''respect'' the original 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz'.

Speaking at the 'Oz the Great and Powerful' press conference at London's Claridge's Hotel Ballroom on Friday (01.02.13), James told BANG Showbiz: ''I've been a fan of the world of Oz since I was a little boy, I read all the L. Frank Baum books when I kid, and so I was excited because of that. That I would be able to step in that world of my childhood and imagination.

''And then I just wanted to be sure that Sam had a sound approach to the movie and so when I read the script I saw that of course, he had a very smart way to do it. I saw that they were going to be loyal and respectful of everything we lovers of Oz expect and that there will be familiar things in the land of Oz that you need for it to be the land of Oz.''

James was also pleased by the contrast between his lead character and Judy Garland's Dorothy as he believes the ''completely different'' approach created a ''fresh'' look at the iconic land.

He added: ''I thought that the approach back to the land of Oz was just perfect. That they weren't going to slavishly and re-create a version of Dorothy, that you'd have Dorothy as a little boy version or something like that. That the lead character was completely different, he was anything but an innocent young girl.

''He was not innocent, he's a conman. And so that the way the audience would be brought into the familiar world of Oz would be completely new and the trip through Oz and the way that the character interacts with Oz would be completely fresh.''