Bizarre reason that knocked Downey out of Raimi's Oz flick

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Feb 28, 2013, 1:23 PM EST

Back when Sam Raimi was getting his Wizard of Oz prequel The Great and Powerful off the ground, he was in talks to bring in recent Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. But the whole deal fell apart behind the scenes, and no one really knew what went wrong. Until now.

The reason? Apparently, a wilting plant had something to do with it.

Raimi was reportedly courting both Downey and Johnny Depp for the lead role (neither actually signed on, as James Franco is starring in the film next month).

Once production was ready to ramp up and Raimi still didn’t have a star, he made one last push to sign Downey. The director apparently sent Downey a plant as a gift during the courting process. The two were still trying to iron out the story, but Raimi apparently got his feelings hurt after visiting the actor only to find his peace offering wilting in a corner.

Writer Stephen Galloway revealed the behind-the-scenes shenanigans in a recent interview:

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).

It’s funny to see some of the secret Hollywood tales that can affect casting on these major blockbusters. Out of these three options, who were you pulling for to make the cut?

(THR via The Huffington Post)