James Franco had magic lessons for Oz the Great and Powerful

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 5 March 2013
James Franco at the Oz premiere in LA

James Franco at the Oz the Great and Powerful premiere in LA

James Franco was taught magic tricks by a famous Las Vegas magician for his role as the titular wizard in 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

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."

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