James Franco Dishes On His ‘Oz’ Inspiration

James Franco is most certainly a man of the modern age, but when it comes to his role in “Oz the Great and Powerful,” he’s got a healthy respect for history—particularly the history of the beloved original film in which Dorothy Gale courts danger and dances the two-step in the glittering land of Oz. And when he sat down for a chat, James had a lot to say about the intersection between a classic story and contemporary filmmaking as it relates to his latest project.

For starters, there’s the script, which our interviewer referred to as having elements of a 1930s or 1940s screwball comedy and which drew James to the role as well. In a best-of-both-worlds scenario, he explained, the new film would retain all the heart, sparkle and visual landmarks that people associate with the world over the rainbow—but that at the same time, “they would be able to use current technology to create a more spectacular version of the land of Oz.”

As for his own take on the wizard-to-be, James says he took his cue from a couple of characters who’d be familiar to anyone who enjoyed the 1939 “Wizard of Oz”:

“My character is from the early 1900s. He’s a bit of a goofball, but he’s also kind of a ladies’ man,” said James, which certainly explains the two men he chose as his acting inspiration: “He’s sort of a combination of a Clark Gable type and a Charlie Chaplin type.”

So, basically, expect James Franco’s Oz to be seducing everybody, all the time, while occasionally pausing to do a penguin-waddle. (Or something like that.)

What do you think of James’ take on the Wizard?