Sam Raimi and Disney fight over Hilary Swank

Senior Editor
04.25.11 18 Comments

It’s always interesting to see what fights a studio will pick over casting choices, because their demands always seem a bit strange and arbitrary.  Right now Sam Raimi is making a Wizard of Oz prequel at Disney called Oz, the Great and Powerful, about “the tale of a young illusionist with a grandiose attitude who is forced to flee a traveling circus. His hot air balloon is swept up by a tornado to the land of Oz, which is run by two magical wicked witches.”

With James Franco is set to play the wizard, Raimi reportedly wants two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby) to play one of the elder witches, but Disney is pushing for Michelle Williams instead.  It’s a weird fight, because it’s not like either of them is box office poison or a surefire draw.

It’s unclear how far Raimi is willing to take his fight, but one agent familiar with the director notes that he can be doggedly tenacious in such situations: Infamously, when Sony’s Columbia Pictures brass and virtually everyone else involved with producing the first Spider-Man were pushing American Beauty star Wes Bentley for the role of Peter Parker, it was Raimi alone who insisted on — and obviously ultimately succeeded — in getting Tobey Maguire approved for the star-making part. [Vulture]

Huh.  I guess good on Sam Raimi for sticking to his guns, but really, it’s not like they were trying to stick him with Willow Smith or something.  Instead, it’s just another acclaimed actress I find oddly boring for being a reasonably attractive woman with above-average breasts.  We should find out who actually managed to stay awake during these discussions and hire them as air-traffic controllers.

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