James Franco Interview | Oz the Great and Powerful #DisneyOzEvent

I’m sure many of you have been waiting to read this interview. So many of you ladies are smitten over Mr. James Franco. He was so amazing in Oz the Great and Powerful and we had a fun time interviewing him. I learned things about him that I didn’t know before! 

When he first walked in, he was surprised like the others coming into a room full of "Mommy Bloggers." He jokingly (well… I think) asked to see pictures of everyone’s kids and for all of us to get to know each other. Although I would have been all for that, I don’t really think that is what we were there for. Maybe another time, perhaps?

When asked what his most memorable moment in filming the movie was, he wasn’t sure because it was all enjoyable. He liked working with his old friend, Sam Raimi. The other actors and actresses were great to work with. It was a fairly easy (just long) shoot.  

James couldn’t answer our question about which witch was his favorite to work with. He said it would get him in trouble. He did say they were all the best and some of the best actresses alive. He felt the movie was very fortunate to have all of them. They are all very different and all play very different roles. Each one was enjoyable but a different experience. 

Sam is a very collaborative director with everybody, even the actors. Everyone is welcome to bring things to the table.  James was able to add some of his personality to the role. With Oz, they rehearsed two weeks in advance of the film and throughout the film. James never actually had lunch to himself. He spent all of his lunches going over the script and the scene with Sam and the other actors. Through that process he felt the character of Oz changed quite a bit. In fact, the early script was very different than what it ended up as. That is the way Sam works and how the project developed through the process.

Some of his favorite scenes were with Finley (played by Zach Braff) and China Girl (played by Joey King). James thought they were great characters and oddball sidekicks to have in the Land of Oz. He loved Joey and Zack. He would do anything with them. He mentioned that the actual process of interacting with CG (Computer Generated) characters is it’s own thing but that actors and filmmakers are getting more used to it. He got some training on it while filming Planet of the Apes. 

When working with CG characters, you go through a series of different kinds of takes. In early takes, Zach would be there with James so he could interact with him. Then for China Girl, a great puppeteer would bring the puppet to life. He would then hear Joey’s voice in his ear. The puppeteer would also hear Joey’s voice and, in turn, make the doll react to what she was saying. Sometimes they will just have James acting out to nothing (if they take away the CG characters). He stated that if we saw that, we may think he was insane.

I was excited to ask James what his favorite part of the magic was and if he could do it in real life now. After training with the Las Vegas magician, Lance Burton, he is able to perform some real tricks. He was shown a lot of the secret tricks and he got pretty good at it. There were even some tricks that were to originally be in a scene; however, they ended up getting cut. He said it was really fun to learn. 

When James was a boy (before Harry Potter was around) he read all of the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books on his own. They were some of the first books that he had read for pleasure (outside of school). He loved them so much, he read through them all quickly. He even remembers the local bookstore that he bought them in, The Printer’s Ink in Paulo Alto. Unfortunately, they are no longer in business. 

When it came to his Spiderman role as Harry Osborne, he was a supporting character in the movie. He feels that Sam Raimi identifies with characters in a lot of his films. When it came to Spiderman, James felt Sam identified it with Peter Parker. Even though James and Sam got along very well and became good friends, he felt like he was not getting the full sunshine of Sam’s love because he was playing the character that was trying to kill his alter ego. 

Now, in Oz, he is the lead character. James thinks Oz is a stand-in for certain sides of Sam. Sam has a little nerdy side, a childlike side and can be a little bit of a trickster. In addition, Oz is an entertainer. He deals in, he creates illusions to entertain people and that’s exactly what Sam does. It’s great to James that he is finally playing the character that Sam identifies with because he gets all of his love. 

We concluded by asking James if he ever slept. I learned that he has multiple degrees in education and is a professor! Don’t worry, he gets plenty of beauty sleep. He feels fortunate that his job is what he loves. He doesn’t ever feel that he needs relief from it like someone who doesn’t like their job might. He moves from project to project because that is how he enjoys life. So it seems like he is doing a lot of things but it’s really just because he spends all of his time with these things rather than half of his time. And… if you are wondering, he sleeps about six hours a night.


We were fortunate to grab a group photo with James Franco! 
 

  OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL will be at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA
March 8th – April 30th in Disney Digital 3D and Real D 3D

 
March 8 – 31 ONLY you can see “Disney Mysteries of Magic” live on stage!  
An expert wizard will show you the artistry of illusion in a magical showcase.  
 
March 8 – April 30, you can see an exclusive display of costumes from the movie!  
For tickets call 1 (800) DISNEY6 or visit www.elcapitantickets.com
 
*All Photos Courtesy of Disney, unless otherwise noted.

Although Disney provided me with an all expense paid trip, all thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own. I genuinely love this movie and it is my pleasure to share my memories with you. 

 

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  1. I don’t know what’s with this guy that I can’t seem to like him. He’s a good actor but… meeeh!