By Karen Posada
Next week on Friday March 8th ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ comes to the big screen nationwide. Many are awaiting this film not only because it is the prequel to the beloved classic ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ but also because of the big names attached to the film, starting by the director Sam Raimi and following the entire cast. I got a chance to fly to Los Angeles not only to interview them all, but also to check out the original wardrobes they wore on set, check out the merchandise out on the marketplace now to promote the Disney film and to get treated to a setting of a yellow brick road and a hot air balloon even if just for a little while.
This prequel follows young Oscar better known as the magician Oz (James Franco) at the beginning of his struggling career as a trickster, whom by chance is taken to the magical Land of Oz where he meets three witches: Theodora (Mila Kunis) known as the Wicked Witch of the West, her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) the Wicked Witch of the East and Glinda (Michelle Williams) the Witch of the North. Here with the help of an assistant monkey Finley (Zach Braff) and an adorable China Girl (Joey King) Oz gets a chance to transform himself and become a better man by helping the people in this land.
I arrived in Pasadena, California in the late afternoon on Valentine’s Day to a sunny gorgeous winter but fortunately warm day, to the stunning Langham resort and hotel; a place so big they gave us a map to navigate our way around it. After I freshened up I headed out to march down the literal yellow brick road that led to a hot air balloon set up for us to enjoy and use for camera shots. After catching up with some colleagues from around the country we headed off to the Disney studios about an hour away to watch the film.
Once seated at the biggest theater on the lot, among not only other press but also celebrities like Mario Lopez we got ready with a big old bucket of popcorn to enjoy the show.
After a late night, the next morning most of us were free to roam around and get ready for our interviews with the cast and director. In the meantime, I got to check out the wardrobe the actors wore on set as well as the costumes they are selling in stores for both children and adults along with jewelry, dolls for collection, shoes, nail polish, make up and much more.
I, of course, was excited to interview the director, Sam Raimi because this genius not only has worked on TV shows like ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’, ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’ and currently is the executive producer of ‘Spartacus’, but he’s also produced films that have stayed with us such as ‘The Grudge’ and ‘The Grudge 2’, ‘The Spider-Man’ Trilogy, ‘The Evil Dead’ and completed the remake of ‘Evil Dead’ coming out later on this year.
And how could I not be excited about the cast! James Franco has definitely based himself as a well known talented actor and has also written and directed a number of films, his most recent roles are in the ‘Spider-Man’ Trilogy, ‘127 hours’ and ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’. This man has a bunch of things coming out this year, Oz being the big opening followed by ‘Spring Breakers’ with Selena Gomez.
Michelle Williams who everyone knows since her role of Jen in ‘Dawson’s Creek’ and went on to make gems like ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’ has a dual role in this film.
Rachel Weisz became really popular worldwide with ‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’ and has now established herself as a legitimate actress. Last year she was in ‘The Bourne Legacy’ and now we’ll see her in a big role in ‘Oz’.
Many of us grew up watching Mila Kunis in ‘That ‘70’s show’ and doing the voice of Meg in ‘Family Guy’, which she currently still does and has had unforgettable film roles such as the one in ‘Black Swan’, was the love interest in ‘Ted’ and plays one of the legendary witches here in ‘Oz’.
Last but not least is Zach Braff, yes he’s in this movie! This talented actor, director, producer etc… made his mark with ‘Garden State’ and his show ‘Scrubs’, here he plays Finley, Oz’s sidekick.
While I’m anxious to give out some spoilers, it’s best to leave it all for the review coming soon! In the meantime check out the rest of the pictures I took of everything else that was available to us.