Golden Globe winning actor James Franco stopped by “Live with Kelly and Michael” yesterday, March 6, to promote his upcoming film, “Oz The Great and Powerful." The movie was filmed entirely in Pontiac, Michigan and opens nationwide in theaters on March 8.
The “Live!” co-hosts immediately remarked on a huge honor that Franco receives today, March 8: He earns his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
According to Franco, his pals Seth Rogan and Sam Raimi will speak about him during the ceremony and the star is located in a prime spot, outside Disney’s El Capitan Theatre. He admitted it's a big deal and joked that Rogan and Raimi may roast him.
In discussing his upcoming film, Franco talked about his childhood connection to the “Oz” series of books by L. Frank Baum, on which the “Oz The Great and Powerful” film is based.
“I was a huge fan of L. Frank Baum when I was a kid. It was before ‘Harry Potter’ had hit the scene. They were basically my ‘Harry Potter.’ There were 14 of them. They all take place in Oz and develop the characters of Glinda, Dorothy, and a whole list of others. I just loved them. This movie was me getting to play Oz and jump into everything I’d imagined as a boy.”
Kelly Ripa asked if he felt pressure to live up to his own imagination of the character. He said:
“Of course there was pressure because the Judy Garland film was so beloved. I knew Sam Raimi was gonna direct it so I already had a lot of faith in the project. But, I wanted to be sure they had a sound approach. And that they were gonna be respectful when they should be respectful. But then I also felt they needed to be innovative in some ways. They weren’t trying to remake that movie. They had a different story in Oz and a very different lead character. It’s no longer a young innocent little girl. My character is anything but innocent. He’s a con man. He’s a charlatan and so it would give a completely different tone to a familiar kind of world.”
Franco stars in the film as Oscar Diggs/The Wizard of Oz, with Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, Michelle Williams as Glinda and Zach Braff as the voice of Finley the Flying Monkey/Frank, Oscar’s circus assistant.
Oscar Diggs is transported from Kansas to Oz and the three witches name him as the one who was prophesied to be the Wizard, who will come to save Oz from ruin.
Filming began in Pontiac in 2011 and local Michigan actors were hired as extras.
“Oz the Great and Powerful” opens nationwide on March 8, 2013 and will play in the Flint area at NCG Cinemas Grand Blanc in IMAX and 3D. Click here to visit NCG's website for tickets and showtimes.