Mila Kunis bails on Akira remake to play Wicked Witch of the West
The hideous, gnarled Mila Kunis, stuff of nightmares, will star as the Wicked Witch of The West in Sam Raimi’s upcoming Oz, The Great And Powerful, according to Vulture—though technically Kunis will be playing the role of Theodorah, whose own transformation into the vindictive, monkey-loving firebug factors into an overall Oz back-story that also includes those of Evanorah, her sister and east-side counterpart, and Glinda, who reps the north. Vulture further reports that Kunis signing on was all that was needed to secure James Franco in the role of the Wizard, after Franco presumably considered the matter by taping a series of one-sided conversations with himself, then playing them all simultaneously at varied speeds while he watched silently from atop an unusually tall stool perched beneath a blue-gelled spotlight.
Perhaps even more interesting is what Kunis’ signing on to Oz means for the live-action remake of Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s Akira, which is a project that has been kicking around for years and is somehow not dead yet. The latest version is being helmed by The Hughes Brothers, who so far have mostly just been wrestling with Warner Bros. over who should star: The Hughes just want “the best possible actors,” hence their insistence on Kunis to play Kei, but Warner Bros. wants a huge name attached to its big-budget epic so badly that they reportedly offered the role of teen protagonist Kaneda to 47-year-old Brad Pitt. Fortunately, Pitt declined, leaving the future of Akira uncertain—and sensing her opportunity, Kunis went to Oz instead. As an interesting side note, it was just a few days ago that Franco was also rumored to be a possible candidate for Akira. But of course, this could very well have just been the Internet rushing to fill a void, as we all know Franco abhors a vacuum.