Oz: The Great and Powerful arrives in cinemas here in the UK this coming Friday March 8, and to celebrate the release of this prequel to the much celebrated 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, the stars were in attendance at the films press conference to promote their upcoming title.
With cast members such as James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, and of course director Sam Raimi all in attendance, the stars took this opportunity to pay homage to the original Wizard of Oz feature, discussing their own inspirations for this particular project in the process.
Raimi – famed most notably for his work on the Spider-Man films, admits he felt frightened by taking on such a large scale production – and one that is so closely connected to such a classic movie.
“I was intimidated and 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, they don't want someone stepping on the fondest memories of their childhood,” Raimi said.
“That's why I steered away from the script at first and later when it came time to find a writer for another project a script came across my desk and I thought I'd read it, just because I was looking for a good writer, and I fell in love with the story. We all loved the 1939 version and this movie is trying to be a love poem to that film.”
Meanwhile Franco – who plays Oz, the title role – was more inspired by the original novels of which this franchise is based upon, rather then just Victor Fleming's original movie. “I've been a fan of Oz since I was a boy. I read all the L. Frank Baum books when I was a kid and so I was excited that I would be able to step into this world of my childhood imagination.”
Williams, who plays Glinda in the film, also paid homage to the original novels, admitting she used them as a source of inspiration. “The original film was an inspiration – has always been an inspiration – but it wasn't really like my leaping or jumping off point, the books were valuable to me,” she said.
On the other hand, Kunis says she tried to steer away from the Wizard of Oz movie, and in particular that of her iconic role, the Wicked Witch of the West.
“I didn't want to emulate or imitate or do anything that would take anything away from the iconic character that was so great and wonderful and will always remain so iconic, “ she said.
“What I was given was the gift of a back story, and so given the origin of the character and humanising her in a way.”
Kunis – who was also questioned on the rumours circulating of her taking on a role in the controversial 50 Shades of Grey movie, gave a swift and defiant response. Kunis fans, look away now.
“This 50 shades of Grey thing just isn't going to leave is it? No you will not see me in 50 shades of Grey. So sorry.”
However Braff has since thrown his hat into the ring – though questions must be raised over which part it is in particular he plans on auditioning for...
“Does that mean that I could audition?” he asked. To which Kunis responded with, “It's all yours Zach. You'd be fantastic in it.”
Oz The Great and Powerful Film Page
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL IS OUT IN DISNEY 3D ON MARCH 8