The Very Busy James Franco to Star in ‘Oz, The Great and Powerful’

The Oscar host, Spider-Man 3 star and Yale Ph.D. student will reunite with director Sam Raimi for Disney’s big-budget film

Last Updated: February 25, 2011 @ 12:00 PM

With his duties as host of the Academy Awards soon to be over, James Franco appears ready to accept a role in Disney's giant-budget prequel to "The Wizard of Oz."

TheWrap reported on Feb. 18 that Franco was in negotiations for the role of the Wizard in "Oz, the Great and Powerful" — a part that Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. also had been considering.

"Black Swan's" Mila Kunis is in talks to play the Wicked Witch of the West.

Sam Raimi, who directed Franco in "Spider-Man 3," is helming and Joe Roth is producing the Walt Disney Pictures movie. The film is slated for a 2013 release.

The movie is about a young magician who is forced to flee from a traveling circus. His hot air balloon gets caught in a tornado, and he winds up in Oz, which is run by a pair of wicked witches.

In addition to co-hosting the Academy Awards, Franco isa Ph.D. student at Yale, a short story writer, a documentary director and a movie star.

Vulture originally reported the story.