Return to Oz and see how it all began

Ben Randolph, Contributing Writer
March 6, 2013
Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Top Stories, Wright Life

Audiences will be able to visit the land of the Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald City when “Oz the Great and Powerful” is released in theaters on March 8.

Some might find it odd that Director Sam Raimi, best known for his “Evil Dead” series, and star James Franco, best known for “127 Hours,” would choose to collaborate on a family fantasy film. Raimi explained that he does not think his films are a “body of work,” but that he simply enjoys entertaining people.

Raimi and Franco participated in a conference call to discuss the highly anticipated  film from Disney.

“So I mean, I think back and think, oh that was a good story I told, hey they really liked that one. I want to really scare them this time, and I want to make them laugh this time,” Raimi said.

Franco viewed his titular role as a chance to have a good time.

“I saw the role as something I could have a lot of fun with and could be fairly creative with,” Franco said.

Remakes or spinoffs often arrive with preconceived notions that the film will be either a pointless retread or a mindless cash grab. Franco acknowledged this and defended the film, pointing out that even though the world of Oz is familiar, the story will be new.

“That they weren’t just gonna redo it with a, you know, innocent young person kind of walking through Oz- that my character was, instead, a kind of con man that was stumbling through Oz.”

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© Disney

To quell the thought that the film will be a purely visual spectacle, the cast is rounded out with award-winning actors and actresses, including Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. Raimi discussed his casting process, using Williams’s character, Glinda the Good Witch, as an example, showing off both his intuition and humor.

“Primarily I thought the most important thing with this character is a source of pure goodness,” Raimi said. “And I needed an actress that had a good soul.  So suddenly that ruled [out] about 90 percent of the actresses in Hollywood.”

With talent both in front of and behind the camera, it looks like “Oz the Great and Powerful” is shaping up to be a wicked hit.

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