Mila Kunis has signed on to play Theodora, the Wicked Witch of the West in Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great and Powerful. Vulture reports that James Franco, who was previously in talks to play the Wizard, decided to sign on once Kunis came on board. This new spin on The Wizard of Oz centers on the eponymous character’s origin as well as the backstory to Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, and Evanorah, the Wicked Witch of the East (aka the Wicked Witch of Getting Smushed by Dorothy Gale’s House).
Interestingly, Kunis was considering re-teaming with The Hughes Brothers (The Book of Eli) to play Kei, the love-interest of main character Kaneda, in his adaptation of the acclaimed manga/anime Akira. According to Vulture, Warner Bros. was willing to have Kunis play the part but only if they could get a major star to play Kaneda due to the project’s hefty price tag. The role was offered to Brad Pitt (who is waaaay too old to play the teenage Kaneda of the manga) but he passed and therefore the project can’t start because Warners needs to find an actor who’s right for the part (read: can draw a worldwide audience) and available (although with no set start date, it seems like the project would be built around the lead actor’s availability). Faced with an unknown start-date for Akira and a July start for Oz, Kunis chose the latter.