James Franco had magic lessons for "Oz the Great and Powerful"

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A prequel to L. Frank Baum's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and the 1939 film adaptation, this 2013 3D fantasy adventure follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, as he's whisked away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking.
March 5th, 2013

James Franco had private lessons from a magician for 'Oz the Great and Powerful'.

The 34-year-old actor plays circus entertainer Oscar Diggs, who eventually becomes the Wizard of the land of Oz, in Sam Raimi's Disney film and was lucky enough to train with Las Vegas performer Lance Burton in preparation for his role.

Speaking at the press conference for 'Oz the Great and Powerful' at London's Claridge's Hotel Ballroom on Friday (01.03.13), he told BANG Showbiz: ''I was fortunate enough to receive lessons from Lance Burton, one of the great magicians from Las Vegas, and he normally performs for hundreds or maybe thousands of people and I got to have him as my private teacher for weeks, which was great.

''It was a big treat and he taught me many tricks and Sam assured me they would all go into the movie - that my hard work would pay off. But they didn't I guess.

''So the character puts on a show in Kansas at the beginning of the film and there are some of the tricks that stayed in there. But more than that but I look at myself on the stage and there are certain flourishes where I carry myself that definitely come from Lance, who is just a great guy and a great teacher and great magician.''

However, director Sam thinks James learnt the ''style'' of a true carnival performer and is convinced the actor could put on a show for a large crowd.

He added: ''But what James learnt during that training was not just the individual illusions, which didn't all end up in the picture, it's true, but the style of a carnival performer or a Vegas performer. Someone who stands in front of the crowd of 100 people and puts on a show.''