Oz, The Great and Powerful director Sam Raimi already has James Franco as his Wizard, and in February Mila Kunis (Black Swan) was cast as Theodorah, a young witch who goes on to become the Wicked Witch of the West.
Now Raimi has two more witches to find. Glinda, who becomes the Good Witch of the North, and Evanorah, who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East (the one who got crushed by Dorothy’s farmhouse upon her arrival). However it may be getting difficult for the director, as he and Disney are apparently at odds over who should be cast.
According to Vulture:
Raimi has been adamant about casting two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as one of the elder witches in the film. However, Vulture is also informed that Disney is strongly opposed to such an idea. The studio has been pushing Raimi to offer the part to Michelle Williams, herself a two-time Oscar nominee.
On the face of it both are talented actresses who could each bring something to the role (whatever it involves), but Disney’s apparent strong opposition for Swank could, in part, be due to her latest movie, The Resident, going straight to DVD and the actress hasn’t really had a hit since 2007 rom-com P.S. I Love You with Gerard Butler.
Studios have short memories, so the fact Swank has two Oscar’s sitting in her house means little when Michelle Williams currently has the buzz from her Blue Valentine nomination a few months ago. Williams was also in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island last year with Leonardo DiCaprio, so she has the momentum studios are after.
Vulture reminds us that Raimi had a similar battle when casting Spider-Man a decade ago. Rami wanted Tobey Maguire, while Sony wanted American Beauty actor Wes Bentley. We know who won that battle, so we’ll have to see how the director fares with this one.
Oz, the Great and Powerful follows a circus wrangler (Franco) who is transported by a tornado to the mysterious world of Oz. Once there he gets mistaken for a know-it-all, and eventually becomes the Wizard of Oz. Filming is set to begin in July so more casting news will be appearing over the next few weeks.