Franco is the third actor to be approached for the title role of a charlatan carnival barker who gets swept away to a magical land and is mistaken for a great wizard. The film was originally developed with Robert Downey Jr attached, though he dropped out a few weeks ago. Raimi and Disney briefly talked with Johnny Depp about the project though negotiations fell through at the end of last week.
Franco and Raimi have worked together previously on the director’s Spider-Man trilogy. For his part, Franco has been making some interesting career choices of late from his stunning performance in 127 Hours to a recurring role on the soap opera General Hospital to an unbilled cameo as a drug dealer in The Green Hornet.
While Franco has an interesting screen presence, I don’t know if I would equate it with either Downey’s or Depp’s on screen charisma. I think the tenor of the film has potentially changed somewhat with the pursuit of Franco for the role.