The path between being a young, selfish, playboy to a grown man that is selfless and helpful can be a hard path. You watch that transformation as James Franco plays Oz in Oz The Great and Powerful. The path is eye-opening for his character and makes him realize what is really important.
During my recent trip to California, I (along with 24 other women) were given the opportunity to interview Franco regarding this recent role.
He had all of us laughing as he walked in to the room of “mommy bloggers” and stated, “I wanna see pictures of everyone’s kids and get to know each other.” You could tell he hadn’t even been in a room with so many moms at one time. I haven’t been a part of any other type of interview, but I’m sure traditional journalists are a little different than us.
We had recently visited the Disney Store and asked Franco what he thought about the wall of Oz dolls that they now carry. He chuckled and told us, “I’ve had dolls made before. I did the Spiderman films and, you know, so it’s nothing new to me.” It was funny to see the look on his face when we explained that it would now be girls playing with the dolls and he would be in the bin with the Barbies. I don’t think he knew what to say, so he just smiled.
As the character Oz, Franco is a magician. We wanted to know if he was able to do those types of magic tricks in real life. Franco replied, “I can. Well, I had to train. I trained with a Vegas magician, Lance Burton and he showed me a lot of the secret tricks and I got pretty good at it.” Very cool. I want to learn some magic tricks!
I was really impressed when we asked if he had been a fan of The Wizard of Oz growing up. Franco told us, “I was. When I was a boy, that was the days before Harry Potter was around and I read all of the L. Frank Baum Oz books on my own. They were some of the first books I read for pleasure outside of school.” How many 14 year old boys would read these books?! That is SO cool.
A lot of us know Franco from his role in the Spiderman films, which were also directed by Sam Raimi. When asked how his role as Oz was different from Spiderman, Franco replied, “Well, so in the Spiderman films, I play Harry Osborne who is a supporting character. And the thing I’ve learned about Sam Raimi is that he identifies with the characters in a lot of his films. And so when we did the Spiderman films, he identified it with Peter Parker. And even though he and I got along very, very well, and became very good friends, I felt like I was not getting the full sunshine of his love because I was playing the character that was trying to kill his alter ego. So now in this film, I’m the lead and again, I think Oz is a stand-in for certain sides of Sam, you know. Sam has a little- he has a nerdy side and a childlike side, but he also, he can be a little bit of a trickster, I guess. And in addition to that, Oz in an entertainer. He creates illusions to entertain people, and that’s exactly what Sam does. And, um, so I’m finally the character, playing the character that he identifies with, so I get all of his, his love. So it’s great, yeah.” I think that makes the movie that much greater. When the cast really connects with the director, the movie is going to show that collaboration.
Franco works on so many different things at one time. Do you think he ever sleeps? Franco assured us that he does sleep, although not the eight hours most of us are used to. “I do sleep, you know. I do a lot of things but, I’m in the fortunate position that, you know, my job is what I love and, so I don’t need a relief from it. So I just kind of move from project to project because it’s how I enjoy life, you know. So it seems like I’m doing a lot of things but it’s really just because I fill all of my time with these things rather than half of my time. But I sleep about six hours a night.” We appreciate the dedication to the art, his talent shines through.
Be sure to check out James Franco in Oz The Great and Powerful on March 8, 2013!!!