Oz the Great and Powerful is not just an “origins” story about the man from Kansas. It also gives us a head’s up on how the wickedness (and goodness) came to be for the witches from Oz. All of the actor’s cast for Oz the Great and Powerful have some incredibly big shoes to fill. Plus the challenge of not re-creating nor re-interpreting the iconic characters.
The movie Wizard of Oz has produced the most famous movie witches of all time. That infamous cackle of the wicked Witch of the West still makes me cringe. Margaret Hamilton scared the bejeezus out of us! I read that even L. Frank Baum’s granddaughter thought that the Wicked Witch of The West was terrifying. In the new movie, Oz the Great and Powerful, there are three witches. Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams). The three actresses talk about what it’s like to be a witch. The flying, the costumes, they make it look so easy!
Mila Kunis plays Evanora, who upon meeting Oz, falls madly in love rather quickly and ultimately has her heart broken. Mila commented that although it was “fun to play somebody that has no boundaries, that has no rules”, she was equally challenged (and frightened) to “play around with a fantastical character” that “does have an end result that is so incredibly iconic that you just don’t want to mess it up.” With the blueprint set forth by Margaret Hamilton, “who’s sort of the last word on wicked witches”, Kunis knew there was no comparison to Hamilton’s “performance from another era”. So with “no way of me ever doing it justice” Kunis created a “21st century love letter” to “the greatest witch of all time.”
Kunis also hinted that the wire work she had to do to get the wicked witch off the ground and onto her broom was “prepping her” for the for the increased amount of stunt work and wire time she’ll endure when she films the follow up to Oz the Great and Powerful!
Grueling wire work and 17 hour work days would make any good witch a little grumpy! But Michelle Williams, who plays Glinda, credits director Sam Raimi for teaching her “about keeping a good face.” Raimi, being the “consummate family man” made “his sets feel like little homes” where “it feels very cozy and it feels very safe and it feels like all of your ideas are welcome, even the bad ones.” She had never experienced a director with such an “unflagging sense of humor” who showed her “a lot about how to like keep your chin up, like when the day is long and things aren’t going quite as you had sort of planned them out in your head.” Williams appreciated the fact that Raimi was always “there with a smile.”
“What’s the best part of being a witch?” exclaimed Rachel Weisz who plays Theodora, “flying!” Like Kunis and Williams, Weisz loved doing the wire work. Especially when the “wonderful stunt coordinators who had worked extensively with Sam on these Spiderman films” are puling the strings. Weisz commented that it was “a little scary the first day” but was in good hands with the “experts in making people fly.” What was Michelle Williams favorite part of being Glinda? “Making little girls smile when you walk by.”
Number two best part of being a witch? “Throwing lightening bolts!” And adorning the amazing costumes and dresses the witches get to wear. Weisz commented that she was allowed to explore and play around with the costume designers and the “incredible drawings of our costumes” and “spent a couple of weeks in a room and I cooked up this costume, which I brought to the first screen test, where basically I looked a little bit like the Duchess of Windsor.” With Oz the Great and Powerful being “this great big budget movie” Weisz “can’t even imagine the level of pressure that he (director Sam Raimi) was under” and was happy that Raimi “was just up for an exploration”. Michelle Williams also thanks Raimi for being so “accommodating” and allowing her to reshoot a key battle scene where Williams felt her dress should look another way. He basically said “if it means that much to you, then it means that much to me” so “we got to re-shoot something once I had this new dress.”
What would you be- a good witch or a bad witch?
Read all our coverage on Oz The Great and Powerful.