Kw-logo-smaller

James Franco Is Oz: The Great and Powerful

Mar 05, 2013

By: Lynn Barker

James Franco, in addition to being a really hot guy, is a multi-talented film professional. He acts (the Spider-Man films, 127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) directs, writes, paints and teaches film and acting. Since James has the ability to seem powerful as well as vulnerable, director Sam Raimi was happy to have him play Oscar Diggs, a lady-killer, shyster carnival magician/illusionist who travels to the land of Oz only to discover his good heart and become truly magical and very powerful.

Kidzworld got to meet with James recently and asked about his role as an iconic character, working with his buddy Mila Kunis, and learning some “real” magic for the film.

Kidzworld: Do you remember you first exposure to the movie The Wizard of Oz?

  • James: I loved the 1939 film, the Judy Garland film. I watched it as a little kid before they had DVD players or even VCRs. I just watched it on TV when it came on, I think during the holidays. Somehow that led me to reading all the books. This is in the day before “Harry Potter” so these were basically my “Harry Potter” series of novels and I read all of them on my own. They were some of the first books I read on my own and I loved the world of Oz. I guess as a young man, I was just drawn to fantasy worlds. I liked being transported to alternative realms where a lot of my early imagination was sparked.

James as Oz
James as Oz

Kidzworld: Cool! So, we hear that you had to learn some magic to play this role. Talk about that and did you then do some at parties to impress your friends?

  • James: Yeah.  I got to learn with Lance Burton, who is a great magician from Las Vegas.  And I got private lessons.  It was pretty fun when I could accomplish the tricks.  There were even more tricks than made it into the film. We just had to cut some of them for time. I got to learn quite a few pretty cool tricks that if I took them to parties, I probably would get a lot of attention.  But, I need a lot of help from Lance to pull them off and he doesn’t travel around with me.  So it’s just sort of one of the skills that I’ve learned like along the way, like sword-fighting or flying a plane that I just don’t use very much after I’m done with the movie.

Oz (James) and Finley (voice of Zach Braff) discover China Doll
Oz (James) and Finley (voice of Zach Braff) discover China Doll

Kidzworld: Your character Oscar Diggs (who becomes Oz) isn’t the most upstanding guy at first. He’s a heart-breaker, does fake magic and he’s power-hungry but you make him sympathetic. How did you do that?

  • James: You don’t want just a movie that’s a journey through a fantastical world.  You want the characters to have their own inner journeys. Oz would start off once place and then have room to grow once he got to Oz.  As selfish and kind of a cad as he is the beginning, it would never go to the point where he’s unlikeable because all of his manipulations and conning of people are sort of played for laughs. I can’t quite blame him for being the way he is because of his history, you know?  He grew up in circumstances where you just wanted to get out.  He wanted something different.  And, performing in the circus, he saw a way out.  And so he’s gone a little too far in his ambitions and it’s blinded him to the love of the people around him.

James as Oz with Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams)
James as Oz with Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams)

Kidzworld: What did you like most about your character and were you a little jealous of the witches’ powers?

  • James: (laughs) Well, I have done a lot of wire work. You have to do in order to look like you’re flying so I was not that jealous of what they had to go through. But I, you know, I just loved that my character was comedic, that he could go into this world and bounce off it, rather than be pulled into it smoothly, and, as a performer, that was the most enjoyable part of it.

Oz faces a feisty fairy
Oz faces a feisty fairy

Kidzworld: You work with Mila Kunis a lot and again here (she plays witch Theodora). What’s the story with you two?

  • James: Mila and I have worked on many projects, at this point.  Some very big, like “Oz” and some smaller projects that I’ve yanked her into. While we were in Detroit, she did a movie with some of my students from NYU and we’ve done Internet things so I love working with Mila. Her being involved in this film is one of the big reasons that I wanted to do it. Not only is she a great actor, I think one of the great things about Mila is she’s just a great collaborator.  She’s very easy-going.  She’s done a lot of comedy so I think she’s very good at acting on her feet, doing improvisation, figuring things out in a very organic way. That’s how I like to work as well.

Oz (James) with Theodora (Mila)
Oz (James) with Theodora (Mila)

Kidzworld: Did you like how the film looked; all the beautiful images and backgrounds? Did that appeal to you as an artist yourself?

  • James: When we went to the premiere a few nights ago it was the first time that we’d seen it with all the effects. Knowing all the work and time that went into that and that hundreds, maybe thousands of people made that dream realized, I think it was a piece of art.  It’s a beautifully-made movie and the images are artworks. I don’t have that kind of team underneath me for my own artwork, but it might inspire me in some ways.  Who knows?

Theodora, Oz, Glinda and Evanora
Theodora, Oz, Glinda and Evanora

Kidzworld: You are in many scenes with China Doll and Finley, two characters that are computer-generated. How hard was it to act when some of the actors we see you with on screen, aren’t there with you on set?

  • James: There are a lot of things that we did that we would have done if Joey (King) was playing a human character. So she and Zach (Braff) would be there for every scene. We'd block things out, talk about the dialogue and make sure that their characters were behaving and being choreographed in ways that they, as actors, thought they should be.
  • In Joey's case, there was a great puppeteer who would manipulate (a China Doll puppet on set). He was so good. He was not only good at manipulating the doll, he would also have an earpiece so he could hear Joey's performance and he would make the doll behave in a way that matched her.
  • He was so effective that Sam started giving his directions to the puppet! He would just talk directly to the doll, like she was her own being. All steps were taken to make me feel like I had a real actor that I'm acting opposite. That’s one of the most valuable things about acting is the interaction between characters and that connection. So they did everything they could to preserve that.

Oz decides to take China Doll (Joey King) on his adventure
Oz decides to take China Doll (Joey King) on his adventure

Kidzworld: What was your biggest discovery in making this film?

  • James: My biggest discovery, hmmm, a lot of the things that I did on the movie were familiar to me. I'd done movies where I play opposite CG characters. I did Planet of the Apes where the great actor Andy Serkis played a chimpanzee so that was sort of similar. I had another CG monkey here but with wings in this one. I got to learn the magic tricks like the illusion of levitation or making things disappear so that was new.

Kidzworld: What do you think your character would do if he lived in today's world?

  • James: I think Oz, my character, is very much a stand-in for the things that I do or the things that filmmakers do. He's fascinated with Thomas Edison and early forms of filmmaking and projection, so he probably would be a director, maybe even direct a film like this (big grin).

James at the Oz premiere
James at the Oz premiere

 

 

>
>

readers voted!

Comments

PrincessSab

PrincessSab wrote:

YAY LUV IT SO COOL
commented: Wed Apr 03, 2013

Tanha

Tanha wrote:

Yeah!! Me too!! I haven't see it yet too!! It's my bad luck!!:( :annoyed
commented: Sun Mar 31, 2013

cowlover711

cowlover711 wrote:

i think you would like it!
commented: Sat Mar 30, 2013

there are 6 more comments

Please login or register to add comments

share with your friends


Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


like this article?
get more just like it in your email

Oz-great-poll

Who is your favorite character?

  • Oz
  • Glinda
  • China Girl
  • Finley

related stories

Micro_mila-micro
Kidzworld asks Mila Kunis about flying, cackling and playing a woman scorned in “Oz: The Great an...
Micro_oz-micro
Kidzworld checks out the witchy-wonderful costumes from “Oz: The Great and Powerful”.
Micro_oz-china-pre
Kidzworld’s EXCLUSIVE interview with teen Joey King who costars in “Oz: The Great and Powerful”!
Micro_james franco-micro
Actor James Franco has captured the attention of audiences on both the small and big screen, and ...

latest videos

Entertainment in the forums

Candygirlxxxx
Candygirlxxxx posted in Movies:
The Hunger Games is the best movie/book in the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
reply 42 minutes
imin
imin posted in TV Shows:
Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon – Ek Baar Phir 23rd April 2014 The episode starts with Astha telling Shlok that she came to get a pen. Shlok looks in his laptop. Employee comes and asks him to come for the board meeting. Shlok leaves from his cabin. Shlok gives the presentation. Astha smiles looking at him. Shlok is surprised to see I love you Astha with Astha’s photo on the projector. He gets shocked and asks his employee to go. They smile. Astha tells Shlok that he confesses his feelings infront of everyone. Well done. Shlok gets angry at her. He says, those three words are not important for me. Astha says, it matters to me a lot. When you don’t know these three words then how will you know my feelings. Shlok says, it is waste to talk to you. Astha says, ok don’t tell me anything. She says sorry and leaves. Astha is walking on the road and thinks to take an auto. She says, he won’t confess his feelings. She is about to take an auto. Shlok comes and takes her in his car. Astha says, I don’t want to go with you. She gets sad thinking he will not say I love you. Shlok looks at her and stops the car. He gets down and Astha follows him. Astha asks him to come. Shlok shouts Astha I love you……………….. I love you so much……………………Astha gets surprised and happy. Shlok smiles. Saiyaave Ab Raasta Dikhade Tu…………………plays. Astha gets shy. Shlok asks, why are you feeling shy? Astha hugs him happily. Shlok too is happy and smiles. They close their eyes while the hug continues to be everlasting. They are standing on the middle of the road while the song Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon plays……….. Anjali is waiting for Astha. She wonders where they might be stuck. Sojal says, Astha don’t care about time. Anjali thinks to call Astha. Shlok is driving the car and holding Astha’s hand. Astha gets Anjali’s call. She asks him to leave her hand. Shlok says, no. You won’t talk to anybody and switches off the phone. Anjali gets annoyed as she thinks Astha rejected her call. Shlok gets romantic and says I hold your hand for life. Astha gets shy again. Shlol says, you looks cute when you gets shy. Iss Pyaar Ko Plays………………………………………………… Shlok looks lovingly at her. Astha and Shlok come home. Shlok holds her again and gets romantic. Astha asks him to leave her hand. Shlok says, I didn’t hold your hand to leave you. What is your problem. When I am loving you, you are not liking it. He says, I am loving you infront of everyone. Astha says, not infront of everyone. Shlok asks her to give him a book about the dos and donts. They come inside. Anjali asks Astha where is your phone. Astha says it was lost. Anjali looks at her phone. Astha says, battery was low. Niranjan asks Anjali to do the rituals first. Anjali asks Astha to do the grah pravesh. Astha looks at Shlok. They enter together while Shlok holding her hand. Anjali makes her wear veil and asks her to be in veil until morning. She says, everyone can see you except Shlok. Shlok gets angry. Anjali asks her to change her saree and wear the given saree. She asks her to stay in the guest room tonight, to be away from Shlok. Astha says ok. She goes inside with Anjali. Astha gets ready and thinks what is this ritual. Today Shlok confessed his feeling and I have to be away from him. Shlok looks at Astha’s photo in his laptop. He recalls saying I love you Astha. He comes out of his room. Varad stops her. Shlok says, I want to see Astha. Varad says, Aayi said you can’t see her. Shlok says, I will see her anyhow. Varad says, all the best. Astha is in the guest room and is restless. She thinks to send voice message to Shlok. She messages him I miss you Shlok. Anjali comes and asks her to come for the Moon Puja. Shlok thinks how to see Astha’s one glimpse. Astha looks at moon in the water and do the puja with Anjali and Sojal. Servant comes and informs Anjali that Niranjan is calling her. Anjali goes. Astha is doing the puja and prays for Shlok’s long life. Shlok comes there and says I will see my moon. Astha covers her face under the veil and runs. Shlok runs after her. Astha veil gets removed. Shlok is standing behind her. Astha hugs him and says you can’t see my face. Shlok says, I came to meet you alone. I will see your face at any cost. Astha runs. Precap: Shlok sees Astha’s face in the water. He says I am happy. Astha smiles. Neither your ritual have break nor my wish.
reply about 3 hours
Ghostling
Ghostling posted in Celebs:
I will be famous one day and therefore the answer is me c:
reply about 3 hours
Crisanna
Crisanna posted in Movies:
The Host was pretty awful. it was so long and not much happened in it
reply about 12 hours
Team Audi #46
Team Audi #46 posted in Movies:
"-Karpov-" wrote: "Thundertoronto" wrote: I could argue about sharknado, though. It WAS produced by the asylum, all their stuff is bad. Intentionally bad intended to be comical.  Me and my brother watched that and stopped about 30 minutes in. Ever watch Metal Tornado. We watched that all the way through but not Sharknado. It was worse than it intended to be. 
reply about 12 hours

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

100x100_ra_logo_girl

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

_thumb_100x100

Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...

_thumb_100x100

We have all played the famous game Sudoku, now play it online with this Classic ...