Sam Raimi’s “Oz, The Great and Powerful” begins production

By Adam Frazier Walt Disney Pictures’ fantastical adventure “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, started filming on Monday, July 25 at Raleigh Studios, the brand-new 200,000 square foot sound stage facility in Pontiac, Michigan.

“Oz: The Great and Powerful” imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz and features an impressive cast that includes Academy Award nominee James Franco (“127 Hours”) as the young wizard.

Joining Franco are Golden Globe nominee Mila Kunis as the witch Theodora (a before-she-was-evil version of the Wicked Witch of the West), Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz as Kunis’ sister Evanora and two-time Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Williams as Glinda, the Good Witch.

The prequel to Baum’s 1900 book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” goes something like this: Oscar Diggs (Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, where fame and fortune are his for the taking.

The magician crosses paths with three witches, Theodora, Evanora and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Oscar must decide who is truly good in Oz before a terrible evil overcomes the land.

The film will be produced by industry veteran Joe Roth (“Alice in Wonderland”), along with executive producers Grant Curtis (the “Spider-Man” trilogy) and Philip Steuer (“The Chronicles of Narnia” series). The screenplay was written by Mitchell Kapner, (“The Whole Nine Yards”) and David Lindsay-Abaire, who most recently wrote “Rabbit Hole.”

“Oz The Great and Powerful” will be released through Walt Disney Studios on March 8, 2013.

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