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Return to Oz: Director Sam Raimi And the Cast About Making Oz The Great and Powerful

By March 8, 2013May 7th, 2013No Comments
China Girl (voiced by Joey King); James Franco, right ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

China Girl (voiced by Joey King); James Franco, right
©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Walt Disney Pictures released the Sam Raimi directed, “Oz The Great and Powerful” and we get the chance to talk to the cast James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz,  producer Joe Roth and director Raimi at a press conference for the film. We talk about the experience they had in making this prequel to the classic 1939 film, “Wizard of Oz.”

James Franco was asked how it was to work with Raimi once again in this film. It is the fourth time that they have worked together the first three beginning on the Spider-Man trilogy in which he played Harry Osborn.

Franco said, “I love Sam.  He’s, uh, uh, I’ve known Sam for over ten years.” He added, “And he is one of the most fun directors to work with and that is no small thing, when somebody, you know, a director on a film really sets the tone of just how people go about things. Everybody is happy to be at work, everybody does their best.  He’s a very collaborative director.”

Mila Kunis was asked about her experience of being in film that has had so much history. Kunis said, “It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  I mean, I’d be lying if I told you that it wasn’t incredibly frightening because it is and she was phenomenal and did such an iconic character for going on eighty years now, that is so associated with so many things, you know, let alone Oz or Halloween or witches in general, that I wasn’t gonna touch it.

Producer Joe Roth was asked about his experience with the 1939 Wizard of Oz and how they wanted to give the film more of the original work from author Baum series of books in the production of this film. Roth said, “Well, I watched “Wizard of Oz”, as a kid. I think it came out every Thanksgiving or Christmas and I would never miss it.” Roth added, “In the Baum book, actually, it’s not a dream.  In the MGM movie, it is a dream. We wanted to make sure that we were consistent with Baum’s work and say that this is not a dream.  This is really happening.  So it’s, you know, the whole color, the idea of color coming in at that time.

Oz Rachel Weisz, left;  James Franco, right ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Rachel Weisz, left; James Franco, right
©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When asking director Sam Raimi about the link between his film and the original really walking a fine line to create his own version but still give a nod to the original film. Raimi said, “Yeah there was a-that was a tribute to the great “Wizard of Oz” picture.  But, um, early on I think the writers decided that we shouldn’t imitate that fantastic musical.  There was no-no comparison to the great quality of music in the original, in fact.” Raimi added, “Ours was, uh, more based-more based on the Baum works.  So we decided not to make it a musical.  And just tell the fantastical tales that he had written about but that one number was a tribute to the great “Wizard of Oz” movie.”

Glinda the Good played by Michelle Williams was asked her memories of the original film and did she take inspriration from watching the original OZ to her role. Williams said, “I don’t remember really like the first time that I saw the movie or-or anything like that but I do remember-I do remember the, um, feeling I had when I first realized that the characters in her waking life were the same as the characters in her dream life.  That the woman on the bicycle was the wicked witch.” Wiiliams added, “Other than that, you know, I think it was just a great place, to take inspiration from. 

Rachel Weisz answered about wearing the costumes and once being on set in full costume how it changed her performance. Weisz said, “My character looks a bit like a bird of prey and slightly militaristic and via Las Vegas or however you want to see it.  But because I was getting into my character-Sam was like, “Well, you know, play around.”  So Gary and myself, the costume designer, spent a couple of weeks in a room and I cooked up this costume, which I brought to the first screen test, where basically I looked a little bit like the Duchess of Windsor.

Oz The Great and Powerful is out now in 3D and standard theaters near you. I would recommend seeing it in 3D to really experience Sam Raimi vision of his film and the land of Oz.

 

 

Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography.