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James Franco In Talks for Sam Raimi's 'Oz' as Johnny Depp Passes

February 05, 2011 06:33:24 GMT

The former 'Spider-Man' actor is in early talks to take the titular role which was initially projected for Robert Downey Jr.


James Franco
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Photo credit: Nikki Nelson/WENN

It turns out things do not work out between Johnny Depp and Walt Disney Pictures to get him starring in "Oz, the Great and Powerful". The "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor has dropped the project and now James Franco emerges as the potential depicter of the titular character.

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) says the "127 Hours" actor is in early talks to star in the movie that will be directed by Sam Raimi. Thus if Franco indeed signs up, he will reunite with the helmer since they last worked together for "Spider-Man" trilogy.

Sources note that "no dealmaking has begun and many issues would need to be ironed out." Additionally, the 32-year-old actor/director has not met with Raimi to discuss the project at this stage.

"Oz, the Great and Powerful" will present a story of a young illusionist from Omaha 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. The project is said a high priority for the studio, which hopes to start production in the second half of the year.

Before Johnny Depp was touted for the lead role, Robert Downey Jr. was the first mentioned to take the coveted part. The "Iron Man" hunk dropped the project earlier this year. Depp was then in discussions for the part, but after several meetings he passed this Thursday, THR reports.

© AceShowbiz.com




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