Before James Franco landed the lead role of OZ in Oz The Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi was trying to get Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. on board. The director really wanted Downey Jr. in the role and he was pursuing him, but there came a point when it all fell apart, and the reason isn't something you'd expect to hear. It's all thanks to a wilting plant.
As production of the film was about to start, Raimi made one last push for Downey Jr., and he sent him a plant during the courting process. As the two of them were trying to work things out Raimi had his feelings hurt when he went over to Downey Jr.'s house and found the planet he had given the actor wilting away in a corner.
This story comes from the writer of the film Stephen Galloway who said:
But after an initial meeting between the director and star, things didn't look good. Months later, Raimi visited Downey at his Los Angeles home, still attempting to land him, but upon entering the house, Raimi spotted a plant that he had given the actor as a goodwill gesture wilting in a corner. (The filmmaker declines to elaborate).
And that was that. Raimi stopped pursuing him. Having met Raimi on a couple of occasions, I can see something like this hurting his feelings. He seems like a very humble and sensitive person. It’s fun to hear these behind the scenes tales of Hollywood, and to see how the littlest thing can affect a major casting decision on a big movie like Oz.
I'm personally happy with Franco's performance in the film. I thought he did great. I really can't imagine Depp or Downey Jr. in this role. They'd seem out of place.