The director and cast of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ prequel are quizzed about their fantasy blockbuster
The Mancunion was recently invited to a press conference with the stars and director of Oz, here’s the best of what Mila Kunis, James Franco, Zach Braff, Rachel Weisz , Michelle Williams and (director) Sam Raimi had to say.
Sam, were you intimidated to ‘return to oz’ after all this time since the classic original?
Sam: Yes I was. I was very frightened to approach the project, because there is so much love for the original Wizard of Oz picture obviously. And people don’t want their warm feelings towards this great classic sullied. And that’s why I stayed away from the script at first, but later when it came time to find a writer for another project the script came across my and I fell in love with it. It was a script with a lot of heart and I thought if I can bring this to the screen only a wicked old witch wouldn’t want this to be made.
James, what drew you to this project?
James: I just had to be sure that Sam had a sound approach to the movie and of course when I read the script I read that he had a very smart way to do it. That they would stay loyal to what us lovers of Oz expect. But now it’s 70 plus years later they are able to capture this world in much more spectacular and seamless way without having to rely on theatrical conventions with men in lion pyjamas, they could create these magical creatures in ways that are believable to the eye.
Mila, how did it feel to be the ‘ugly duckling’ for a change?
Mila: It was actually really great. It was incredibly freeing. It was the first time in my life where putting on the costume really did change the way that I viewed the character. It really allowed me to explore my performance without having to worry what people thought.
Did any of you take any inspiration from the original film?
Zach: Its tricky for me to answer because I’m creating this new character. I guess if anything I saw the monkey as being the comic relief like how the Scarecrow, the Lion and Tin Man were -the physical comedy of it all. So there are a couple of subtle places where Sam and I found to put in some physical comedy that was an homage to those characters.
Michelle: Glinda in the original doesn’t go down the yellow brick road as she doesn’t need anything which makes her a little bit one dimensional and we wanted to bring out her more human qualities. So the original was an inspiration, will always be an inspiration but it wasn’t my jumping off point.
Rachel: Well my character you could only see her feet from under the house-
Zach: Did you take any inspiration from her feet?
Rachel: (deadpan) Zach I did, I did
Zach: I noticed, if anyone else didn’t, I noticed
Mila: The truth is no, I didn’t, because I didn’t want to emulate or imitate, or do anything that would take away from the iconic character that was so great and wonderful and beautiful. What I was given was the gift of a back story, so I could humanise her. When she became human is when it made sense to me. I would never dare to emulate something so iconic.
Mila, was it different playing a character that went on a journey from innocence to evil and will we see in the future you play a character that also leaves their innocence behind in Fifty Shades of Grey?
Mila: God this Fifty Shades of Grey thing is not gonna leave is it? No, you will not see me in Fifty Shades of Grey, sorry.
Zach: Does that mean I could audition?
Mila: (deadpan) It’s all yours Zach. You’d be fantastic in it.
If you could cast a spell on any person what would it be?
Mila: Erm, I would cast a spell on Sam Raimi so he would cast me in all his movies.
Zach: I would cast a spell on Mila to have her do Fifty Shades of Grey
Oz the Great and Powerful is in cinemas now.