There's no place like home, especially when that home includes Oz: The Great & Powerful director Sam Raimi! This time, he's staying away from his signiature horror style and going a little more classic. He sat down with Chris Hardwick at Comic-Con 2012 to discuss his upcoming movie, Oz: The Great & Powerful, which is based on the original books by L. Frank Baum.
The film, starring James Franco as Oscar Riggs, reveals the man's origins and how he became the great wizard we known now. Raimi went on to describe how "it's a story about a selfish man and throughout the course of the journey, by the time he gets to Oz, it's like a land of second chances. He's influenced by great friends like the Good Witch Glinda, and how he becomes more of a selfless man."
Wait, James Franco as the Wizard of Oz? I did a double take, too. For the first time, footage from Oz: The Great & Powerful was shown to the public (or at least, those who were able to get into Hall H at Comic-Con), showcasing the familiar Kansas setting in black and white, followed by the incredible colors of Oz. As Raimi explained, we first meet Riggs as a carnival magician who's "pretty good but lacks a lot of social skills." Driven by fame and fortune, he is forced to leave Kansas after being caught sleeping with the wrong woman. And you know there's only one way out of Kansas!
We got to see the short scene where Franco boards a hot air balloon and is swept away by a tornado and lands in a magical new land. From there, we were shown a quick montage of the cast of characters, including Michelle Williams as Glinda, who "embodies everything that is good and pure" and Milas Kunis as Theodora, who is "believes that Oz is the legendary wizard."
Both Kunis and Williams then joined Raimi and Hardwick on stage, where they talked about their favorite moments in working on the film. Kunis gushed over the sets: "I went in thinking it was all blue and green screen but it wasn't. The sets were built and it was all tangible...It was magical going to work and while you used your imagination when it came to a distant land, everything else was right there."
For Kunis, walking into Glinda's castle "was one of the most magical experiences of my life."
The famous ruby slippers won't be making an appearance in Oz: The Great & Powerful. Raimi explained that the shoes were "really unique to the MGM classic, so we didn't have the rights to use it in our film." Besides, weren't they silver in the original book?
Classic characters like the Scarecrow and the Lion won't be around, either. Raimi stressed that this movie was all about the origins of the Wizard of Oz.
As for those wondering about Sam Raimi's involvement in bringing The Shadow, from the pulp comics, to the big screen? You'll have to keep waiting. He answered a fan with, "We never got the screenplay just right and I didn't want to embark on something with a character that wasn't perfect." Oh well.
Oz: The Great & Powerful is set to be released on March, 2013.