Have I been living in Kansas or something? This is the first I’ve heard of a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz, which remains one of my top 10 movies of all times. The almighty, ever-captivating James Franco stars as the Wizard in Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, which hits theaters March 8, 2013.
Franco plays a circus magician named Oscar Diggs, who is transported by way of a twister (in black & white) to the merry old land of Oz (in color). The flick is directed by A-lister Sam Raimi (the Spiderman trilogy), with co-stars Mila Kunis as Theodora the Wicked Witch of the West, Rachel Weisz as Evanora the Wicked Witch of the East, and Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good Witch.
Synopsis: Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its homeys, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil and put his own magical talents to the test to transform himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but a better man as well.
James Franco sure scrubs up nice & handsome for his ongoing Gucci Made to Measure ad campaign, which launched last fall. The 33-year-old actor posed for French photographer Nathaniel Goldberg in Rome for the shoot, which features James in a film studio donning classic elegance. Indeed. *
James Franco’s Sal, the biopic that he conceived and directed in 2011, apparently came and went without so much as a whisper of publicity. Last fall, the movie was shown at the Venice Film Festival (with Franco in attendance) and then the Austin Film Festival and then… nothing.
We first wrote about it last July, with great anticipation for Val Lauren’s starring role, with a then-targeted street date of 2013. I have no idea if there are intentions for wide release at this point.
Loosely based on Michael Gregg Michaud’s biography, the story surrounds the final day of one-time teen idol Sal Mineo’s life at the age of 37, on February 12, 1976. “He eagerly plans his future, which includes an upcoming play he rehearses for and promotes. There’s a glimpse at his relationship with his lover Courtney, and his friends. His financial struggles, his addictions and his active lifestyle. All leading up to his unfortunate, seemingly random murder and the culprit’s arrest,” reports website Movie Pool.
Its review from Austin calls Sal a “slow-paced, indie piece that requires a certain artistic mindset to appreciate. While lead actor Val Lauren shines brightly in what is often a very quiet role, Franco’s directing style takes some getting used to.”
The flick was shot in nine days on a shoe-string budget, but one would have hoped that Franco’s personal fortune would have provided funding for the film to hit HBO or the like. So little information is available on Sal that it’s eerily like the Oscar-nominated actor’s own demise: simply tragic. *
In 2010, we had a packed roster of nominees for The Smoking Nun’s Sexiest Man Alive, including James Franco, Thomas Jane, Chris Evans, Cristiani Rinaldo, Rodiney Santiago, Channing Tatum, retro entry Maxwell Caulfield, Isaaiah Mustafa, Kellan Lutz, Eddie Cibrian and Willam Levy. The victor was sweet Mr. Santiago, with Levy the runner up by a hair. Stand by for the sexy slate of 2011 contenders!