• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
JUL
12
2 YEARS

James Franco Expounds on his Wizard of Oz Character (Video)

The Oscar nominee and renaissance man gives a deep reading of his young version of the iconic character, a magician with an eye for deceit.

James Franco OZ screengrab - P 2012

First thing's first: the Wizard of Oz is not James Bond.

While Oz: the Great and Powerful is debuting some footage at Comic-Con, the star of the grand Disney prequel, James Franco, gave ET a first -- and very deep -- peek into the psychology of his magician-turned-wizard character. And while he agrees that the Wizard is in some ways an icon, he insists that he has for the most part the ability to shape the character with his own interpretation.

Franco, as should be expected of a man who has played everything from James Dean to ape cloner to artist/serial killer, has clearly given this Wizard character a lot of hard thought. It also helped that he read every single Oz book written by L. Frank Baum, 14 in all.

"The character that we've set up is, he's not a bad guy, it's just that, I guess because of his life circumstances -- he grew up on a farm in Kansas, his father, it was very hard -- so he does everything he can to succeed," Franco explains. "He depends too much on success for satisfaction. And so, that has cut him off from having any kind of long term relationships because he always feels like he has to be devoted to his work or climbing to the top. So when he meets any young lady who is pretty, he probably will make a play for her, but without intentions for making a long-term thing."

Mila Kunis, who plays one of the witches, also delves into her character: she's not evil, just a heartbroken girl.

All in all, it sounds like a rom-com wrapped in emerald.