Sam Raimi Eyes Hilary Swank For ‘Oz'; Disney Wants Michelle Williams

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 11:06 pm,

Directors and studios have been at odds over big-budget productions many a time in the past – especially when it concerned who should be cast in what role in the film. Sam Raimi certainly has experience with that (see: the casting of Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man) and he appears to have found himself on familiar territory with his new film, Oz the Great and Powerful.

Raimi reportedly has his eye on multiple Oscar-winner Hilary Swank to portray a villainous witch in his Wizard of Oz project. Walt Disney Pictures however, is said to want the part offered to multiple Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams instead. What a dilemma!

According to their sources, Vulture has been informed that Disney is “strongly opposed” to the casting of Swank – and that Raimi is “adamant” about having the Boys Don’t Cry actress join Mila Kunis as one of the sorceresses who crosses paths with the charming huckster Oz (James Franco) in the film. It doesn’t look like this is a deal-breaker for Raimi, but he does have a history of standing strong about his casting choices, in the face of studio opposition (see: Spider-Man 4 cancellation).

Oz the Great and Powerful is an origin story of sorts that – according to (unconfirmed) leaked plot details – reveals how the titular “wizard” arrived in that magical place somewhere over the rainbow and fell in love with the Good Witch Glinda, a role Blake Lively was previously considering. It also explores how his arrival inspired the lovely but sinister witches Theodora (Kunis) and Evanora (the part Swank/Williams are being eyed for) to set out and conquer Oz for themselves.

The Wicked Witches of the East & West are also described as “incredibly attractive, seductive women” and it’s said that Oz declining Theodora’s sexual advances really sets the conflict in motion. Take all that as you will.

the wizard of oz header Sam Raimi Eyes Hilary Swank For Oz; Disney Wants Michelle Williams

“Toto, we’re REALLY not in Kansas anymore.”

Pardon my cynicism, but it seems pretty clear to me that Disney is aiming to cast young and “sexy” for the witches in Oz – and while Swank is both a talented thespian and beautiful woman to boot, I suspect she doesn’t qualify in the eyes of certain Disney heads. That’s not at all a knock against Williams, who is a great actress as well. It’s just that this Wizard of Oz pic is gearing up to be a huge (read: upwards of $200 million cost) production, so Disney likely wants it to look as “attractive” as possible on paper.

As I see it though, this is a win-win situation for audiences; both Swank and Williams could be fun as an evil and sensuous witch – one who is (by the sound of it) supposed to be a bit older and more mind-over-matter than her seductive cohort. So we’ll have to see whether Raimi or Disney ultimately gets their way.

That’s assuming you’re interested in seeing this Wizard of Oz flick in the first place – and so far, there actually seems to be good reason to be interested. If nothing else, I’m curious as to what the realm of Oz will look like after being filtered through the mind of Sam Raimi.

Filming on Oz the Great and Powerful is slated to begin this July, so keep an eye out for some official casting news in the near future.

Source: Vulture

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  1. Hilary Swank all the way!

  2. Hilary Swank’s alright, but I have a thing for cute, slightly chubby, short gals… mmmm… Michelle Williams all the way. Swank is kind of mannish, but Williams? I can dream about her. :)

  3. Multiple Oscar-winner Hilary Swank vs. multiple Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams, huh?

    Tale of the tape says Swank is WAAAAY hotter…and has the skills to have attracted several little gold men named Oscar into her fan club.

    No knock against Williams, you understand…but I see her more in the Glinda role.

    • But Williams like to be nude in her films… mmmm… a nude witch… I love it!!! :)

    • you are so right about williams/glinda role.

  4. Man Raimi never gets a break, but at least he will stand up and tell a studio what is up.

    • I do think the more-demanding moviegoers among us need to see more directors stand up to Hollywood studio fools. Even though I personally can’t stand some of the decisions that George Lucas has made in his Star Wars movies, I do like the freedom that he exercises with the money he’s earned. He can basically make the movies he wants to, for better or for worse, and only needs Hollywood for distribution purposes.

      Hollywood doesn’t take any risks and that’s but one big reason why movies, overall, are so bad now.

      I do like a guy who generally knows what he’s doing with movies telling the Hollywood bean-counters to stuff it. I like that he’ll even say No to them. Making some concessions is fine (it’s how we all have to get through and get along in life), but I hope that more filmmakers start to stand up once they have stronger ground to stand on, rather than continuing to be Hollywood’s lackey. Stop bending over for Hollywood.

  5. This article made me think of the episode of The Office when the whole staff debates if Hilary Swank is hot.
    At first thought I figured who would not want to cast a 2 time Oscar winner in their film but if I had to choose between the 2 I would go with Williams. She seems like a better fit playing alonside Mila Kunis who is the very definition of an “incredibly attractive, seductive woman.”

  6. Wizard of Oz movie by Sam Raimi?? Come on! Such a horrible fit. Zero interest.

  7. Any movie fan should say swank cuz that’s the directors vision. Disney just wants one thing.

  8. This is like asking if you want lasagna or ravioli for dinner.

    Either one is a winner to me.