Sam Raimi Introduces First Trailer for Oz: The Great and Powerful at Comic-Con (Photos)
07.13.12 by Ryan
Director Sam Raimi finally debuted the first footage from his upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful at Disney's Comic-Con panel on Saturday and Reelz was there to soak it all in.
Prior to screening the trailer for the thousands on hand, Raimi revealed that the movie would specifically follow James Franco as he goes from a carnival magician in Kansas to becoming the Wizard.
It's based on L. Frank Baum's great books that he wrote at the turn of the century. It’s really the story of The Wizard. It's who the Wizard was and how he came to be the great wizard we know. And really it's a story of a selfish man, who is a bit of a lothario, a bit of a cad, not a great guy at first. The story takes place, like the great Wizard of Oz, in Kansas, and he starts off as a carnival magician. And we see that he's a good magician, but he lacks a lot in social skills and human skills; being a good person. He has a good heart, but he isn’t in touch with it. He thinks the way to greatness is through fame and fortune, when really it’s about the sharing of his gifts and the selfless expression of his talents. So he's a little bit of a character in the beginning and his life becomes untenable in Kansas and he's forced out, in fact, he’s been sleeping with this woman — he’s an adulterer — [and] he’s chased out of Kansas and he takes a balloon up and that balloon gets swept up in a tornado and that’s how he ends up in the land of Oz.
One of the bigger surprises from the trailer is Raimi's decision to start with black and white for the Kansas scenes then morph into full-blown color once we enter the world of Oz, just like the original 1939 movie. But that's where the similarities between the two movies end. During the audience Q&A, Raimi revealed that those famous ruby slippers won't show up in this Oz.
Those ruby slippers were really unique to that 1939 classic. We don't have the right to those imagery or original ideas from that movie in our picture. We decided to base it on the books, so no, they didn't make it into our movie.
Same goes for the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion. Raimi said those characters "are not a part of this picture actually, because this takes place before The Wizard of Oz book and the movie takes place."
For better or worse, the movie definitely has a very Alice in Wonderland feel (the movies share an executive producer), with its very heavy use of CGI to create the Land of Oz. But not everything was CGI. On hand with the director were stars Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams, who play Theodora and Glinda, respectively, and Kunis discussed how she was amazed with some of the movie's sets.
Going into it, I thought it’d be all blue and green screen and it wasn’t. The sets were built and they were tangible. Glinda’s castle was there, Emerald City was there, the Woods were there. Everything was really in front of you. I have to tell you, walking into Glinda’s castle was one of the more magical experiences of my life. It was so truly, breath-takingly beautiful, I cannot express it.
Slightly off topic, but Raimi was also asked of the progress of his adaptation of The Shadow that he started a couple years ago. Though he said he was a fan of the pulp comics, Raimi said he eventually had to pass on the project because they never just "got the script right."
Apparently, Oz: The Great and Powerful screenwriters Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards) and David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) did get it right, or we'll found out next year.
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