James Franco Talks about Working with Vanessa Hudgens and Being Oz

Manila Bulletin, February 24, 2013 | Go to article overview

James Franco Talks about Working with Vanessa Hudgens and Being Oz


LOS ANGELES - "I loved working with Vanessa Hudgens," revealed the multi-talented James Franco when we talked to him recently at the Langham Huntington Pasadena Hotel.

"She has a great spirit and I really had fun working with her in 'Spring Breakers,'" he said.

"Spring Breakers," which was shown at the Toronto Film Festival, is about a group of friends - Vanessa Hudgens (Candy), Selena Gomez (Faith), Ashley Benson (Brit) and Rachel Korine (Cotty) - all of whom decide to rob a fast-food restaurant in order to pay for their spring break in Florida.

James appears as Alien, a drug and arms dealer who bails the girls out when they land in jail but hires them to do some prostitution work for him.

"The girls were not just great actresses but they were so excited that they were offered roles like this," he said. "The roles were so different than anything that they had done that director-writer Harmony Korine got not only 100% out of them. He got 110% of their energy because they were so excited. And also, most of these young women came from these other kinds of shows and they have this other kind of history; so when they are juxtaposed with this fairly dark material in this very, very, indie kind of film, it's sort of a culture clash. So it gives the whole project a different kind of energy and it is exciting."

The 34-year-old actor also got to work with three of Hollywood's most beautiful and talented actresses in "Oz the Great and Powerful," the Sam Raimi-helmed film that also stars Michelle Williams (Glinda), Rachel Weisz (Evanora) and Mila Kunis (Theodora).

James appears as Oscar Diggs, also known as the Wizard of Oz.

The fantasy adventure film, which is inspired by L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," is actually set before the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz."

We asked James about his relationship to Oz as a child and he said, "I saw the 1939 film when I was young, before there were even VCRs. I saw it on television. They used to play it around the holidays and I loved it. I don't know if it was the movie or what but somehow, when I was about 11, I started reading the L. Frank Baum books and loved them. I read all of them on my own. They were some of the first books I read for pleasure. So I have been a fan of Oz for a long time."

So did he have a little magician kit when he was a kid, we asked. "I love magic," he admitted. …

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