“Oz: The Great and Powerful” set to film in Detroit area in July
The movie is about Oz and the three witches years before Dororthy arrived. “Oz: The Great and Powerful” is being directed by Royal Oak, Michigan native Sam Raimi who has directed numerous movies with either box office and/or critical successes like “Spider-Man”, “Drag Me to Hell”, “For Love of the Game”, and “The Evil Dead”.
Early casting news includes oscar nominee James Franco (“127 Hours”, “Spider-Man”), Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”, “That 70′s Show”), oscar winner Rachel Weisz (“The Mummy”, “The Lovely Bones”), and Blake Lively (“The Green Lantern”, “The Town”) is rumored to be joining the cast in a role fans of the original 1939 “Wizard of Oz” will be familiar with.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” is a fantasy that is said to be a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum, told from the point of view of the Wizard. It tells how the Wizard arrived in Oz and how he became the ruler.
This won’t be Kunis and Franco’s first time together in a movie, they were recently on the big screen together in 2010′s “Date Night” as a petty crime couple wanting to make it big.
Franco was nominated for an oscar last year for his lead role in “127 Hours”. He is said to play “Oz”, a fast-talking snake oil salesman and illusionist who flees a traveling circus and winds up whisked away in a hot air balloon by a tornado to the land of Oz and falls in love with “Glinda the good witch”.
Kunis starred alongside Natalie Portman in the oscar nominated “Black Swan”, she gained popularity for her role on “That 70′s Show”, but has since become wel known for her recurring voice role of Meg Griffin on “Family Guy”, and has also starred in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008), “The Book of Eli” (2010), and “Extract” (2009). Kunis will play “Theodora”, the youngest sister of the three witches that includes “Glinda” and “Evanora”. According to sources, Theodora starts out as a good witch, alongside her beautiful sister Glinda, but after her advances are pushed away Oz, she’s convinced by Evanora to switch sides and help her older sister rule Oz, eventually becoming known as “The Wicked Witch of the West” – the green witch played so well in the 1939 version by Margaret Hamilton.
Weisz is best known for her role as “Evelyn” in two of the “Mummy” movies and won the oscar for Supporting Actress for her role in “The Constant Gardener” (2005). She’s also starred in a variety of roles from dramatic to comedic and independent to big studio movies like: “The Lovely Bones” (2009), ”The Brothers Bloom” (2008), “Fred Claus” (2007), “Runaway Jury” (2003), and “Confidence” (2003).
Weisz is expected to play the wicked witch ”Evanora” or better known as the “The Wicked Witch of the East”, the one that was ruling over the Munchkins and is killed by Dorothy’s falling house in the original “Wizard of Oz”. She was the original owner of the magical slippers.
Lively is rumored to be playing “Glinda”, commonly known as “the Good Witch”. She got her break in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (2005), gained popularity in the TV series “Gossip Girl” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2″ (2008), and gained more attention for her more dramatic role in “The Town” (2010). Lively’s next role is opposite Ryan Reynold’s this summer in the comic book movie “The Green Lantern”.
The production is expected to start July 25th. Pre-production is underway at the recently opened Raleigh Michigan Studios in Pontiac, MI. The Michigan Film Office has reportedly said that “Oz” was approved for the film incentives in late 2010, prior to the new restrainst put in place under the new Michigan 2012 budget proposal. “Oz: The Great and Powerful” has a scheduled release date of 2013.
Raleigh Michigan Studios is located in Pontiac at the site of a former General Motors truck plant and office complex. The studio says “Oz” will be the largest feature to shoot in Michigan.
Raimi was born in Royal Oak, Michigan on October 23, 1959. He has directed action movies and horror movies, independent movies and big budget studio productions: “Drag Me to Hell” (2009), “Spider-Man 3″ (2007), “Spider-Man 2″ (2004), “Spider-Man” (2002), “The Gift” (2000), “For Love of the Game” (1999), “A Simple Plan” (1998), “The Quick and the Dead” (1995), “Army of Darkness” (1992), “Darkman” (1990), “Evil Dead II” (1987), and “The Evil Dead” (1981).
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