James Franco, star of “Oz the Great and Powerful,” arrived at the film’s premiere Wednesday in a hot air balloon, but the gimmick didn’t stop there. He also took the human-carrying craft to his appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” later that evening, which films next door to the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard where “Oz” premiered.
It was his first time in a real hot air balloon, Franco told Kimmel. Watch the stylish arrival above.
In the lavish Disney film, Franco plays a younger version of the famed wizard -- the tale starting from his arrival in the magical land.
“He starts off less than a perfect kind of guy. He’s a little selfish. He’s a bit of a womanizer. Dorothy sort of had to work out her issues.... This guy has to get a bit of a conscious and be less selfish,” Franco said.
“And how do you prepare for a role like that? Do you do ride-alongs with actual wizards?” Kimmel quipped.
“Actually you do, in a way. I had to train with the great Lance Burton in Vegas,” Franco said. He trained with him for two weeks, but, unfortunately, Franco’s Burton-inspired magic dove scene got cut out of the film. Watch him talk about his training in the video below.
Franco, 34, a jack of all trades, teaches a graduate film course at UCLA’s film school (FYI: He teaches an English class, too) and he’s had pals like Natalie Portman and Kristen Wiig appear in a few. While shooting a student film in Big Bear recently, he and his crew were pretty close to the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner.
“In the film class, we make movies and I act in them. And then I get great actors to come be a part of it,” Franco said. “I was acting in one yesterday, in fact. We were in Big Bear, like, five minutes from where all that horrible stuff went down, and in the movie I was driving a sheriff’s car, too, so it was really weird. And there were SWAT team trucks going right by where we were shooting.”
Talk about authentic filming experiences...
A body believed to be Dorner’s was found in a burnt-out cabin late Wednesday. And on that shining note, Franco then propositioned Kimmel to be in one of his films. What a salesman.
The Sam Raimi-directed “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which also stars Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Zach Braff, opens March 8.