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OTRC: James Franco in talks to star in 'Oz, the Great and Powerful,' report says

James Franco in a promotional photo for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. (ABC)

James Franco is now in talks to play the Wizard of Oz in "Oz, the Great and Powerful," Disney's prequel to "The Wizard of Oz," after Johnny Depp passed on the role, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Sam Raimi is signed on to direct the movie which tells the story of the young wizard, who is forced to flee a traveling circus but lands in Oz when his hot air balloon is swept up in a tornado. In the land of Oz, the illusionist is forced to compete with two witches for control.

Last week, it was reported that "Oz, the Great and Powerful" might be filmed in Detroit in order to take advantage of the state's tax incentive for the film industry. A production company called Emerald City Films was approved for tax credits and reportedly plans on filming at the almost-completed Raliegh Studio, which was built at the site of the former Pontiac GM plant.

The 32-year-old actor rose to fame with the "Spider-Man" films, which were also directed by Raimi and this would be their first time working together since "Spider-Man."

Franco recently played a hiker who amputates his own arm in the new movie "127 Hours" and is set to host the 2011 Academy Awards.

Franco will also reprise his character of serial killer Franco on the ABC soap opera "General Hospital" this month.He began playing his recurring role on "General Hospital" in November 2009 and his character has appeared in at least 40 episodes over the past year, with the most recent airing in August.

It was announced this week that Franco would be teaching a college course about his career called "Master Class: Editing James Franco ... with James Franco," at Columbia College Hollywood in Tarzana, California.

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