James Franco

Feb. 12, 2015 | 12:00 p.m.

’11/22/63′: James Franco to star in Stephen King time-travel series

James Franco has been cast as the lead in “11/22/63,” J.J. Abrams’ new Hulu series based on the novel by Stephen King. Franco (“The Interview,” “127 Hours”), who is also a producer for the series, will portray high school English teacher Jake Epping, who travels back in time to try to prevent the assassination of President John. F. Kennedy. The nine-hour event series based on King’s thriller is coming to Hulu via J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot Productions. Abrams, the creative mind behind the likes of “Lost” and “Fringe,” is no stranger to bizarre tales of time-travel and parallel realities, and it seems this series will be no exception. In King’s “11/22/63,” published in 2011, Epping’s quest to save JFK is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, romance and a past resistant to change. Bridget Carpenter — whose previous credits […]
March 08, 2013 | 9:54 a.m.

Great and powerful? Recalling the original ‘Wizard of Oz’ [Photos]

“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the most beloved movies of all time, so it’s a bold move to try to step inside those ruby-red slippers. Disney has done just that with its new film “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a prequel of sorts to the 1939 classic. Although reviews have been mixed, many agree that the Sam Raimi-directed film starring Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis, and James Franco as a con-man magician swept away to Oz, is visually stunning. But no one would dare to say that “Oz the Great and Powerful” surpasses the original, even if they believed it, right? (That would be sacrilegious!) We dug into the Los Angeles Times archives to bring you — above –some images tied to “The Wizard of Oz.” Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, the film is the most watched movie […]
March 08, 2013 | 8:16 a.m.

‘Oz’ faces tornado of criticism as it drops into theaters

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is neither great nor powerful, if you believe the criticism being heaped upon it in the mainstream media. Nearly all of the critics agree that the film is visually stunning. But several of the nation’s top critics described “Oz the Great and Powerful” as a runaway train, with so much money poured into the special effects and pageantry of it all that the production had nothing left to spend on a compelling story. “An oppressive, bloated bore, the latest argument that CGI kills the imaginations of talented filmmakers,” said the Miami Herald. “If it only had a brain. Or a heart. Or nerve,” the New York Daily News said of “Oz the Great and Powerful.” The New York Times described the film as “a dispiriting, infuriating jumble of big money, small ideas and ugly visuals.” There […]
March 06, 2013 | 5:10 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’: Sam Raimi on 3-D fantasy, James Franco

With three “Spider-Man” films on his resume, Sam Raimi has overseen some pretty large projects. But the director said that none of them quite prepared him for “Oz the Great and Powerful.” “Spider-Man lives in a world that already exists, and we were just creating the CG to put into it,” Raimi told Hero Complex in a recent interview. “With ‘Oz’ we had to create a world from scratch. No blade of grass or flower existed before. It was all generated by artists and props people and botanists.” Opening Friday, “Oz the Great and Powerful” represents the first directorial effort from Raimi since his 2009 horror movie “Drag Me to Hell,” and stands as his grandest filmmaking challenge to date, simply from a technical standpoint if no other. In fashioning his take on the world conjured by L. Frank Baum, […]
March 04, 2013 | 2:31 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’: Michelle Williams on Glinda inspiration

In both L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” novels and Victor Fleming’s 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Glinda the Good Witch is all-knowing, aware of everything that happens in Oz and, for the most part, what needs to be done about it. But there’s a different Glinda in “Oz the Great and Powerful,” the Sam Raimi-directed film that opens to high fan anticipation this Friday. As played by Michelle Williams, the wand-waving beacon of goodness can sometimes be just as helpless and in-the-dark as the people she’s there to lead. That was a conscious choice made by Raimi, and one that he and Williams discussed often on set, the actress told Hero Complex. “Glinda can’t be omniscient because then she has no struggle,” Williams said. “If she already knows everything about the situation, there’s nothing for her to discover.” Designed as […]
Aug. 03, 2011 | 3:26 p.m.

‘Rise of Planet of the Apes’: Andy Serkis hails Caesar

If performing apes had a union, a picture of Andy Serkis would be pinned to the office dartboard. The 47-year-old British actor has stolen two of the greatest simian roles of the 21st century right out of their hairy, prehensile hands: first, the title primate in Peter Jackson’s remake of “King Kong” and now Caesar, a sentient, wordless chimpanzee who becomes a Che Guevara-like revolutionary in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Opening Friday, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a reboot of the science fiction film franchise inspired by French author Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel about a planet where hyper-intelligent apes rule over mute human slaves. The new movie, from British director Rupert Wyatt, is the origin tale of the young ape who sparked that subversion of power. The story begins in present-day San Francisco, where […]
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