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An audience with the great and powerful cast of Oz... • Page 1 of 2
At the UK premiere: Raimi, Kunis, Williams, Franco, Weisz and Braff.
19.Apr.78 • Palo Alto, California
9.Sep.80 • Kalispell, Montana
14.Aug.83 • Chernivtsi, Ukraine
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Lined up to talk to the London press, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff and Sam Raimi were on the stump for Oz the Great and Powerful. And they looked a bit subdued, all of them dressed in black. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that the film's UK premiere had taken place the night before. And a few of them were sharing a cold. Even so, there were glimpses of mischief in the way they glanced and whispered to each other, and in some of their cheeky answers along the way...|
Was it daunting to tackle such a venerable franchise?
What brought you on board as actors?
Zach Braff: Well, first and foremost: Sam Raimi. I think I speak for everybody when I say that no-one handles these movies better. It's a giant effects movie that's grounded and has heart.
Rachel Weisz: I loved the character. I wanted to play somebody wicked and evil! And Sam Raimi is the wizard - he is the man behind the curtain - the wizard that drew us all to Emerald City.
James Franco: First of all I heard Sam was doing this movie. I did the three Spider-man films with him, he's one of my favourite directors to work with, and I'm a fan of his films. I've also been a fan of the world of Oz since I was a boy. I read all the L Frank Baum books when I was a kid, so I was excited because I'd be able to step into that world of my childhood imagination. So when I read the script, I saw that they were going to be loyal and respectful of everything we lovers of Oz expect, and that there would be familiar things that you need for it to be the land of Oz. You need the yellow brick road and the Emerald City, witches, flying monkeys and Munchkins. But now it's 70-plus years later and they'd be able to capture this world in a much more spectacular and seamless way. But even more than that, I thought the approach back to the land of Oz was just perfect. They weren't going to just slavishly try and recreate a new version of Dorothy, but the lead character was anything but an innocent young girl. He was not innocent: he's a conman. So the way the audience would be brought into the familiar world of Oz would be completely new. And so I thought they had both: they were respectful of what they should respect and they were innovative where they should be innovative.
Mila Kunis: How do I follow that one? I would just ditto everything James said! In all honesty it truly is just what he said. I stand by that. And just to be able to work with Sam was a huge honour. And the ladies are the most amazing costars that anybody could ask for.
Weisz: Oh, hush now!
Kunis: Oh go on! No, no, truly they are. Rachel and Michelle are a gift. And working with James has always been fun for me. So it was a no-brainer. Oh and Zach! I can't leave Zach out. Zach Braff is awesome!
Braff: Thank you - did you guys get that on tape?
Did the original 1939 film or the books influence your characters?
Michelle Williams: In rehearsals, I wanted to know how I was going to talk, what kind of voice I should have, and would I wear a big pink dress? And Sam reminded me that Glinda in the original movie never goes on the yellow brick road because she doesn't need anything. And that was a little bit one-dimensional, and I wanted to bring out her more hidden qualities. So the original film was an inspiration - it has always been an inspiration - but it was also a jumping off point. The books were very helpful.
Weisz: My character Evanora isn't in the books, right? So I couldn't draw inspiration from the books. She's a made up character by the screenplay writers. Although I guess in the 1939 film her feel are sticking out from under the house!
Braff: Did you take inspiration from the feet?
Weisz: I did! Although I took the ruby slippers and changed them into black leather lace-up boots, which are more Evanora's speed.
Kunis: The truth is that no, I didn't want to emulate or imitate or do anything that would take away from the iconic character that was created so wonderfully and beautifully and will remain so iconic. What I was given was the gift of a back-story, the origin of the character, and humanising her in a way. I mean it's very simple: it's just a girl who gets her heart broken, who doesn't know how to deal with pain, takes the easy way out, numbs the pain and has an emotional transformation that just so happens to be mirrored with a physical one. Everything else was kind of secondary. She's a woman scorned who just so happens to know how to fly. And that's the truth! I would never dare try to emulate something that's so beyond iconic.
Mila, how did it feel to be the ugly duckling for a change?
How does this darker character compare to possibly starring in 50 Shades of Grey?
Braff: That means I could audition?
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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