Sam Raimi Fighting with Disney to Cast Hilary Swank in OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

by     Posted 2 years, 359 days ago

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While he’s working on filling out the rest of his cast for Oz, the Great and Powerful, director Sam Raimi is having a little trouble getting Disney on the same page. James Franco is currently set to star as the Wizard in this prequel to 1939′s The Wizard of Oz, with Mila Kunis attached to play Theodora (the Wicked Witch of the West). Raimi wants Hilary Swank to join the cast as one of the elder witches in the film, but apparently Disney is none too keen on that casting choice. Vulture reports that the Mouse House is pushing Raimi to cast Michelle Williams in the role instead, but Raimi doesn’t seem eager to budge.

The report points out that the director ran into a similar problem on the first Spider-Man flick, when Sony wanted him to cast American Beauty star Wes Bentley as Peter Parker. Obviously Raimi won out on that film, but can he convince Disney otherwise this time? Hit the jump for more.

sam-raimi-imageOz, the Great and Powerful centers on Franco’s character dropping into Oz and getting caught up in a battle for the kingdom. The Wizard and Glenda the Good Witch go up against evil witches Theodora (Kunis) and Evanora. One would guess that the role Raimi has his eye on Swank for is Evanora, since he and Disney were trying to nab Blake Lively to star as Glenda (she ultimately chose to star in Oliver Stone’s Savages over this project).

I think Swank and Williams are both fine actresses, and it’s hard to opine over which is better for the role without really knowing the character and how Raimi and Co. intend to portray her. I can’t imagine either one being a bad choice. John C. Reilly was previously in talks to join the film as the Wizard’s sidekick, but he will instead be taking on a crucial role in Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games adaptation. Only time will tell if Raimi gets his pick. If you’ll recall, the director’s creative differences with Sony over Spider-Man 4 led to him walking away from the project entirely, thus ending the Tobey Maguire-Raimi Spider-Man era of films and making way for the new Marc Webb-helmed reboot starring Andrew Garfield. To catch up on all of our coverage for Oz, the Great and Powerful click here.




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  • whatever@whatever.com

    Michelle Williams > Hillary Swank.
    Swank is overrated and chooses melodramatic vehicles so she can showboat. Seriously – does anyone actually enjoy her performances? Williams is fantastic and chooses smart, small, provocative movies. If anything, Williams should decline because this looks like it is going to be junk.
    Raimi is also wildly overrated.

    • Clayton

      Your face is overrated. They are both great actors. This is a tough call. Can we finally have a moratorium on the word “overrated”? Either you like the movie / actor / director or you don’t. Overrated is a meaningless concept.

      Dramatic vehicles to showboat? Slow down little man, it’s called being a serious actor. And may I add a talented one. You don’t get her accolades and level of success without talent. I thoroughly enjoy her performances. It’s not like she doesn’t have her poorly received flops. I take it you haven’t seen The Reaping and The Next Karate Kid.

      • Michael

        Why the petty insults, Clayton?

  • Dave

    I love any Oz story. You say Oz, I am there.

    However, you say James Franco in Oz….well, I am not gonna be there. I cannot stand him.

    Top that with Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams and Hillary Swank, well, I can tell you I have now COMPLETELY lost interest in this film.

    Maybe we can get Ashton Kutcher and the cast of Scream 4 in there and really make it a craptastic film.

  • SPS

    Hilary Swank and Michelle Williams are both huge stars, I really don’t see the difference.

  • Emovie

    TOUGH choice. I really like Williams and I am wondering why Raimi is against having her

  • Matt

    Michelle Williams is the more talented of the two.

    Fire Raimi and bring someone else in if they can’t get him onboard.

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  • elaine griego

    I hope it will be good! I plan on going to see it. Sam Raimi did a heck of a job with the Evil Dead series.
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  • Elitist Prick

    Having to choose between casting Hilary Swank or Michelle Williams is one of those good kind of problems. Sure, the choice will probably change the character and characterization of whatever role they play, which is probably where to conflict originates from, but anyone who thinks either actress is untalented (or that Raimi is a poor director) is fooling themselves.

  • cuteview

    Hilary Swank is hot…cast her instead….

  • val

    I HOPE hilary swank because i can’t stand michelle williams but i know she is talented!

  • Bennie

    Raimi and Swank worked together before on “The Gift”. That gives Swank the upper hand, right?

  • Brett

    I can’t believe there’s even a question about casting Hilary Swank. Disney is full of Dumb-o’s.

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  • Jerry

    Swank is a overrated daughter of Mr. Ed. Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis I feel are great choices……

    • Clayton

      Stay classy unfunny, ignorant, and probably hideous-looking Jerry.

      • Michael

        You’re really being classy yourself there, Clayton. Bashing the appearances of people you don’t even know? That’s very “classy” and ignorant of you. The people you’re bashing are simply expressing their personal opinions on the topic at hand. You? You’re resorting to personal attacks. From the sounds of it, you’re projecting your own insecurities onto others, which is what most people who attack people on the Internet do.

      • Clayton

        Michael, it saddens me to realize you’ve completely missed the point of those comments. However, 99% of the time I’m completely with you, but in that 1% when I read pointless (and worse, anonymous) cruelty and statements of collective pretension over and over, sometimes this is the result. I’m not perfect, and I’m guessing neither are you. Please spare me the lame, ill-informed psychoanalysis. Good night.

  • Jeri

    It is Glinda, not Glenda. Other than that, I think maybe Hilary Swank might be the better choice, I don’t know if I could see Michelle Williams playing another of the “bad” witches.

  • chris gault

    both actresses are fine … studio involvement has a tendancey to destroy films … films are better left to a single vision.

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