James Franco learned to pull rabbits from hats for Oz role

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies News

James Franco has revealed that director Sam Raimi made him study magic for his role in 'Oz: The Great and Powerful'.

He says that Raimi, who he worked with on the 'Spider-Man' films, sent him to Las Vegas magician Lance Burton for two months to learn some of the craft.

[Related story: Oz - The Great and Powerful Super Bowl trailer]

Franco says that he could 'materialise' doves and pull rabbits from hats by the end of his training.

“Oz, my character, is a performer. In some ways he's an inventor, an artist,” he said.

“What he does in this film is he goes to this land where people can do actual magic and he can't. But he learns that his earthbound magic or sleight of hand, his way of entertaining people is in its own way valuable and can be used to help people.

“I learned to materialise live doves and pull rabbits out of hats. I think I did pretty well. But as usual, when the director insists on intense preparation, whatever scenes you're preparing for so diligently are cut from the final movie.

“I have [the clips] on my iPhone. Maybe I'll put those on the internet in a few years.”

The film, which also stars Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams, is due out on March 8.