James Franco for Oz February 7, 2011 Is James Fraco off to see the Wizard? James Franco is in talks for the lead role in Oz: Great and Powerful. The actor was approached for the film after Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp both passed on the role. A prequel to The Wizard of Oz, the film follows a young illusionist who is forced to flee a travelling circus in a hot air balloon and ends up in the land of Oz. Joe Roth is producing the project with production expected to start in the second half of 2011.