Briefly: This isn’t exactly a surprise. Sam Raimi‘s most notorious film accomplice, Bruce Campbell, has announced that he has a role in Oz: The Great and Powerful. What’s he playing? We don’t know. All we’ve got is a tweet from the actor announcing, “I. Am. In. Oz. Sam Raimi refuses to tell me what character I will portray. Just know that the role is PIVOTAL.” The emphasis on that final word suggests to me that the role, like his appearances in the Spider-Man films, will be anything but. Regardless, it’s good to know he’s on board.

There are also rumors that Bruce Campbell will cameo towards the end of Fede Alvarez’s remake of The Evil Dead, which is about to go into production.

With the press release announcing the commencement of shooting on Sam Raimi‘s Oz the Great and Powerful, I’d hoped we might have some small casting additions. Maybe a role for Ted Raimi? Nothing new on that front, however. So we’ll make do with the knowledge that James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams lead the cast.

The release does have a few good tidbits of info, however, such as the fact that cinematographer Peter Deming (Evil Dead II, Drag Me to Hell, Lost Highway) is shooting. That’s great news; I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Deming’s work for many years, and thought he did a wonderful job on Drag Me to Hell.  Additionally, Howard Berger is “[creating] the looks of several of the unique denizens of Oz, including creatures such as the Whimsies, the Tinkers and the Winkies, as well as the ghastly look of the Wicked Witch of the West.”

The official synopsis follows after the break. Read More »

With an incredible cast and filmmaker all lined up for a March 2013 release, Oz The Great and Powerful is getting ready to go in front of the cameras. How do we know? Well, actress Abigail Spencer has just tweeted an image of a sign leading actors to the set and on that sign is your first look at the film’s logo. A small thing, to be sure, but when you’re talking Sam Raimi directing James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff in the prequel to one of the most revered films of all time, you’ve got to check it out. Check out the image after the jump. Read More »

The small news for Sam Raimi‘s new Wizard of Oz film Oz: The Great and Powerful is that Abigail Spencer has been cast as “a young woman who is a willing subject of Oz’s magic tricks which the erstwhile magician is performing in Kansas.” The magician being the character played by James Franco, whose balloon eventually is blown off course, landing him in Oz, where he becomes the Wizard we know from the classic film.

But there is a bigger Oz story in play today, as today a ruling in the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals gave Warner Bros. quite a few powers over the characters depicted in The Wizard of Oz. This court decision could have serious ramifications going forward for any studio that seeks to make a film that will capitalize in some measure on an existing film owned by another company. Read More »

Danny Elfman had a fairly high-profile falling-out with his Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 director Sam Raimi while trying to score Spider-Man 2 — a falling out that prompted the composer to declare that the two would never work together again.

Well, something happened, because now, in addition to scoring Tim Burton‘s Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, Mr. Elfman says he will be doing the score for Oz: The Great and Powerful, and likely scoring The Hunger Games, as well. Read More »

Briefly: The latest move in the great Battle For March 2013 Release Dates is this: after Disney dated Oz: The Great and Powerful for March 8, 2013, Sony has responded by shifting Elysium up one week to March 1. Neill Blomkamp‘s second film had already been sitting on that March 8 date, but Sony is evidently keen on a March date for the sci-fi film that will star Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, Jodie Foster and Wagner Moura.

We still don’t know too much about Elysium other than the fact that it is an R-rated tale set roughly 100 years in the future and will feature some of the same combination of sci-fi action and social commentary that characterized District 9. Jodie Foster plays a head of state on an alien planet, and ‘futurist’ Syd Mead is designing some elements for the shoot that is taking place in Vancouver and Mexico City. [ComingSoon]

Briefly: The latest addition to Sam Raimi‘s soon-to-shoot Oz: The Great and Powerful is a slightly unexpected one. Zach Braff is finishing up his negotiations to join the film. He’ll play Frank, “the loyal but under-appreciated assistant to Oz (James Franco).” Oz is transported to the land of Oz (some name confusion there) when his hot-air balloon is blown off-course; we can expect that Frank is dutifully manning the fire, and probably gets the blame for the course mismanagement that lands Oz in Oz.

The cast also features Mila Kunis as the witch Theodora, and Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz are finalizing talks to play her two sisters Glinda and Evanora. Joey King will play China Girl, to whom Oz becomes a sort of surrogate father after her family is wiped out by Evanora. Oz: The Great and Powerful starts shooting in Michigan in July; it is scheduled for release on March 8, 2013. [Deadline]

Jamie Chung has two big Legendary Pictures films behind her this year, Sucker Punch and The Hangover Part II, and now (probably not as a response) she’s going indie for the film Knife Fight. That’s the one starring Rob Lowe where he plays “a political crisis manager who specializes in playing hardball on behalf of scandal-plagued clients.” Jamie Chung will be his savvy assistant. Quite a few other people are in talks for roles, too: Julie Bowen, Connie Britton, Jennifer Morrison, Rebecca Mader and Titus Welliver. Bill Guttentag directs and co-wrote the script with Chris Lehane; the film will shoot next month in San Francisco, and a release is planned for October 2012, timed around the next US Presidential election.

Before Knife Fight makes it to theaters, Jamie Chung will be in Premium Rush, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and was written and directed by David Koepp. [Variety]

After the break, Oz: The Great and Powerful and American Reunion get minor additions. Read More »

Briefly: In February we talked about how the start of the summer movie season has essentially been pulled back from Memorial Day weekend to early March. Next year continues that trend as March 2012 is packed with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, John Carter, The Hunger Games, Clash of the Titans 2 and now Relativity’s Snow White film. Disney looks like it wants to continue the early summer trend in 2013, as the studio has just dated Sam Raimi‘s Oz: The Great and Powerful for March 8, 2013. Read More »

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Director Sam Raimi is assembling quite the cast for his Wizard of Oz prequel Oz The Great and Powerful. First he locked up James Franco to play a traveling salesman who finds himself in the magical land, then he cast Franco’s Date Night co-star Mila Kunis as the impressionable young witch Theadora, followed by Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz as her evil sister Evanora and now Variety reports that he’s cast Oscar nominee Michelle Williams as Glinda, the good sister who, along with Franco, battles for control of Oz against the brunette beauties. Read More »