James Franco: the $7 million third choice
Oz: The Great And Powerful covers The Hollywood Reporter this week. It’s a good “business of Hollywood” article on Disney’s $200 million big hope and, instead of kissing the studio’s ass, asks the question: will Oz be an Alice In Wonderland, or will it be more like John Carter?
Some of that responsibility falls on James Franco in the title role…even though he was actually the third choice to play the part. Robert Downey Jr was director Sam Raimi’s original pick. There’s a great gossipy bit in here about what a bitch RDJ was to Raimi that has to do with a neglected plant. When RDJ passed, a request was sent to Johnny Depp but he was committed to The Lone Ranger. Only then, short on time, did they approach James Franco who was riding high from his Oscar nomination for his performance in 127 Hours. And because the timeline was so tight, Franco was able to secure a $7 million deal. He had yet to space out while hosting the Oscars. They were banking that Franco would keep rising. The not-so-subtle implication here is that, well, he might have been overpaid. Are you reading anxiety here? The entire article feels anxious, understandably. On top of the film’s budget, apparently they’re spending another $100 on marketing. Sh-t, that’s stressing me out too and I have nothing to do with it. Can Franco and Raimi deliver?
Well, they’re trying. And, as it is more and more these days, they’re hoping for a lot of support from overseas. Here they are, with Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams, promoting Oz in Russia today on the start of the European tour. But can we talk about this cover? I hate this cover. I hate that it’s always this cover, the ladies down low like they may as well be holding up apples or berries to his mouth. Art directors, can we please have a little more imagination? Click here to read the full article.