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Michelle Williams & James Franco: 'Oz the Great & Powerful' Set Visit Interviews! (Exclusive)

Michelle Williams & James Franco: 'Oz the Great & Powerful' Set Visit Interviews! (Exclusive)

Check out these new stills of Michelle Williams, James Franco, and Mila Kunis in their highly anticipated flick Oz the Great and Powerful, in theaters March 8.

JustJared.com had the awesome opportunity of visiting the set of the film in Pontiac, Michigan back in October 2011 to check out the behind the scenes action and interview the cast!

Make sure to check out some brand new character posters for Oz featuring James, Michelle, Mila, and Rachel Weisz.

Click inside to read JustJared.com‘s interviews with the Oz the Great and Powerful cast…

James Franco Interview

On landing the role as Oz:
“It was a pretty easy decision. [Robert] Downey, Jr. had fallen out, I’m not sure why, and then they were talking to Johnny Depp, and then he didn’t end up doing it so then I had a meeting with Sam [Raimi] and briefly I read the script and we talked about it. I don’t know, it was just kind of a understanding that we both liked the approach, that there was one aspect of it that would pay tribute to the sense of Oz, the collective sense of Oz, but that there would be a fresh take, mainly I think through the portrayal of Oz. Oz was as we all know in the 1939 movie is an older gentleman, now you get the young Oz and so you get a different kind of spirit into maybe a familiar fantastical world.”

On his characters wardrobe:
“Oz is, in the beginning, he is not the most successful magician so these are the clothes from Kansas and it’s a way to set up his attraction to wealth, but really kind of a drive to pull himself out the poverty of his early life. I guess the story is he grew up on a farm and his father struggled to make ends meet and so Oz’s life is at least in the beginning is motivated by a need to better his economic state.”

On his character traveling to Oz:
“I guess in the sense that we play with the idea of Oz being a magician in traveling show so he’s not what I guess we would call a real wizard who could make lightning shoot out of his fingers. But then he comes to a land where people are actually performing magic and so there is this constant tension between real wizards and false wizards.”

On his first time walking on the yellow brick road:
“The yellow brick road is so iconic so it was just plain fun to be able to do scenes on the yellow brick road, I actually was a book reader when I was younger and I think the first books I read on my own where the Baum “Oz” books, the 14 or 15 that he wrote. So like a lot of movies that I’ve done it’s really satisfying to step into this world because it’s material that I was fascinated by when I was younger, in a similar way, with Ginsburg when I was a little older I read him and then got to play Ginsberg (Howl), this is a similar experience. It’s also great because Oz is such an established place in the collective imagination, yes there’s a danger of like ruining peoples expectations or their idea of Oz but I think that the spirit here is right and the intentions are right so I think that they are going to capture what people kind of think of Oz while still adding this great spirit. But it also gives as this freedom to make a movie that otherwise might be slightly childish but because it’s now the original is considered a classic, we can kind of play in this childish fantastical world and it doesn’t have to feel like a children’s movie.”

Michelle Williams Interview

On being a fairytale figure:
“It’s the best! There’s nothing better than making kids happy. Seeing little girls faces light up just at the sight of me.”

On if she will keep her tiara:
“I think that the tiara has a price tag that I couldn’t afford (laughs).”

On how she referenced the 1939 version of Glinda:
“Yeah we talked about her a lot, but Sam wanted to shy away from anything that referenced her to heavily. He wanted our very own Glinda, so there’s little nods in a few costumes and a couple of lines, but she’s a starting off point. I just think of her as where Glinda started, when you meet Glinda in the original Wizard of Oz she has a kind of calm, but that’s what we like to think that’s where she wound up and this is where she began.”

On the difference with her version of Glinda:
“I think that her character is intact but I think that she has, I don’t think that her goodness is ever a question, but I think she has struggles.”

On collaborating with the characters costumes and wand:
“Yeah I would say that the costumes were a big collaboration. Because it had a lot to say about what I was thinking, how I wanted her to begin, and the kind of sort of spirit Glinda has and the costumes are a big part in telling that story. I had a lot of ideas and it was fun to implement them and have people that were willing to collaborate and have the time, and the talent, and the budget to do that.”

On working on blue screen:
“There have been a lot of first times for me on this movie, the imaginary world, you see a big blue screen, but of course you won’t see a blue screen, you’re going to see things flying, the sun setting, you’re going to see things… so turning on sort of that side of my brain but often you’re not really able to have the real thing there when you do it so that and most of the movies at a time to do tend to be smaller, sort of more intimate, just a smaller crew. I like things feeling like a family so I tried to make this feel like a really big family but it’s a happy one because Sam is the dad and it comes down from there.”

On the chemistry on set:
“It’s a ball!”

On her first time walking on the yellow brick road:
“That was a momentous occasion I’ll have to say, I grabbed somebody’s arm and said ‘wait a second stop, were on the yellow brick road’. How many people get a chance to say, I’ve been thinking of stealing a little piece of the yellow brick road, but how many people get a chance to say that, it goes beyond cinema, it’s a part of cultural history.”

Favorite memory about the Wizard of Oz:
“The munchkins. I was in a school play or in a community theater play of Wizard of Oz, and I played a Lullaby League munchkin so I’m really drawn to them.”

Favorite sets:
“The graveyard was smelly…”

On what she’s learned of making this movie:
“Well I would say, I guess I didn’t realize it was this big, it didn’t seem this big.I don’t mean to be naive or anything, it’s just you know David Lindsay-Abaire polished up this script and Sam can have the most in-depth conversation, he can situate himself inside of any character and have the most in-depth conversation from that character’s point of view from how they behave in the scene. I would say it’s up there with the most collaborative environments I’ve ever worked on, and I got to make Blue Valentine, which was just two actors being allowed to do anything they wanted and follow any impulse at anytime no matter how ridiculous, insane, upsetting, whatever it was. I guess I didn’t think of it as being that big because I’d worked with Sam, talked to Sam and I knew that I was going to be there with a director who would direct me and he wasn’t going to be sort of more attached to technical things than sort of personal things. I’ve had to flex my imagination I think in a way that almost feels like a muscle that was getting underdeveloped or something. Some of the shots, we’ve done really long tracking shots that involve crowds. You land in your bubble and you walk through a crowd, you’re greeting the crowd, you’re saying your lines to James, you’re walking up the stairs, you’re in a long dress, you can’t trip on your dress, you have to keep your wand in your left hand, but you’re still talking to James, and then your relating to people and then your coming up the stairs, and that’s all in one shot and it’s a three and half/four minute take. It was so exhausting , after that I was like ‘phew, I got to get back into the theater’, the movies that I make they wouldn’t even have the capability, the budget, the crane, to make that kind of shot. Stamina, endurance, imagination those things are coming into play. It’s always nice to get better in areas that you are a little weak, so I’m enjoying it and I find it as challenging as any other movie that I’ve made.”

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5 Comments

# 1

Hey pretty cool guys I’m excited upon this film too!! “Franco” a household name!! Nice pics btw!

# 2

franco has a lot to say. thats good cuz it shows hes not just an actor he has a personality

# 3

Really nice interviews. Regarding Franco being cast as Oz, I say 3rd time lucky and he will be excellent in this role. Apparently, the silver slippers are in this movie, plus the fact that we also have china girl etc; it seems, it will be more faithful to L. Frank Baum books.

This is going to become a classic, I can just feel it and so freaking excited.

# 4

Oh, Michelle. It’s been a while when I saw her on JJ.

# 5

I’m a big Michelle Williams fan, so I’m looking forward on seeing her take on the role of Glinda. I got my calendar checked :)

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