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Filming begins on Disney’s Oz movie

While a recent court ruling calls into question if Disney really has the rights to make this film, principle photography, as they say, has begun on “Oz, The Great And Powerful.” Based on the L. Frank Baum novel, the Sam Raimi directed film will feature James Franco as the title character. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams make up a trio of witches who pursue Franco’s Wizard of Oz to see if he’s the great wizard they’ve been hoping for. Zach Banff play’s the magicians assistant.

The movie is a pre-quel to the famous film and tells the story of how Kansas circus magician Oscar Diggs, Franco’s character, came to the land of Oz. Almost all of the production is taking place on a 200,000 square foot sound stage in Michigan, which was a GM truck plant in its former life. It sounds like there will be a lot of CGI involved too.

Here’s the official synopsis for Oz The Great and Powerful:

“Oz The Great and Powerful” imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

The film is scheduled for a March 2013 release, so don’t get too excited, yet.

(via the Hollywood Reporter)