The 127 Hours star has emerged as the new favourite to head up Sam Raimi’s Wizard of Oz prequel, which is based on L. Frank Baum’s classic books.
The film will be set before Judy Garland’s original 1939 movie and focuses on an illusionist who flees a travelling circus in a hot air balloon, which is caught up in a tornado and swept to the land of Oz.
Downey, Jr. walked away from the movie last month (Jan11) and Disney bosses had reportedly approached Johnny Depp to take on the role. The Pirates of the Caribbean star is said to have passed on the fantasy due to other filming commitments.
Franco and Raimi are no strangers to one another’s work – they collaborated on the Spider-Man franchise and last teamed up for Spider-Man 3 in 2007.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is due for release in 2013.