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James Franco in early talks to star in Oz, the Great and Powerful

James Franco is said to be in early talks to star in Sam Raimi’s prequel Oz, the Great and Powerful. Robert Downey Jr. was originally eyed for the role but he pulled out two and a half weeks ago. Johnny Depp was then in discussions, but Heat Vision | THR says he passed last night:

Sources caution that no dealmaking has begun and many issues would need to be ironed out, but if the stars align, Franco would be back working with Raimi for the first time since they collaborated on Sony’s Spider-Man movies. At this stage, Franco hasn’t met with Raimi to discuss the project.

Disney hopes to start production on the high-profile project in the second half of this year.