The Project:Oz the Great and the Powerful, a prequel where the wonderful wizard (James Franco) isn’t such a great guy.
He’s a con artist who gets swept away to that magical land and crosses paths with three witches: good Glinda (Michelle Williams), naïve Theodora (Mila Kunis) and more dubious Evanora (Rachel Weisz.)
The Panel: Director Sam Raimi, Kunis and Williams. The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick moderated.
The Big Revelations: We see Glinda, Theodora, and Evanora in the normal hues of the actresses — but the final shot is of a bright green claw scratching lines in a table top.
Somebody goes green — and once you go green, you apparently go mean.
Check out the footage after the jump!
We get a green arm, but no ruby slippers. (That’s an alteration to the L. Frank Baum books specific to the 1939 MGM film, which is off limits for this movie.) We won’t see the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow or Tin Man either. “Those characters are not part of this picture because this takes place before The Wizard of Oz book or movie took place, before Dorothy got there,” Raimi said. “By the time our picture ends, the audience has one interpretation of how it all came to be.”
Footage Screened: Have a look at the Comic-Con footage for yourself:
Snap Judgment: The Wizard looks like quite a player. Raimi described him as a cad, and he seems to make eyes at all three of the witches — perhaps leading Theodora to come after him with that army of flying monkeys.
The success of Snow White and the Huntsman (also produced by Oz’s Joe Roth) showed that audiences like a slightly more grown-up quality to their storybook fantasies. We may be seeing a love triangle — or a love rectangle — between the wizard and the three magical ladies.
Kunis described Theodora as the innocent of the bunch — which would explain why she might fall the hardest for his manipulative charm. “She’s the first character Oz encounters when he gets to the land, and she’s just incredibly sweet, incredibly naïve, and just so believes that he is the wizard,” she says.
But only Glinda manages to keep believing in Franco’s wizard, who is his own worst enemy in this strange new land. “She’s the only one who continually sees the best in Oz, even when his selfish nature makes that very difficult,” Williams says
Most Incisive Audience Question: “Where’s Bruce?” The questioner happened to be dressed as Ash, Bruce Campbell’s chainsaw-handed hero from Army of Darkness and Raimi’s Evil Dead series. Campbell is a Raimi mainstay, and the filmmaker confirmed: “Bruce Campbell does make an appearance in the movie.”
The questioner’s follow-up: “Will The Classic be in the movie?”
That refers to a 1973 Oldsmobile that Raimi often features in his films, and even though this one is set at the turn of the last century — yes, it’s in there.
“It’s not seen in its original form,” the director acknowledges. “It had to alter its appearance to fit into the land of Oz, but part of its engine block and part of its camshaft was used to play another role — part of the Wizard’s machinery.”
Least Incisive Audience Question: A guy dressed as Johnny Depp’s The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland asked about the ruby slippers and then pointed out: “Mila is shaking his head … HER head.” That led to a lot of hemming and hawing and backtracking and trying to compliment her beauty. “Do you want a shovel or do you just keep want to digging with your words?” Hardwick finally asked, mercy-killing the questioner.
The Winner of the Panel: Raimi cultists. With Bruce Campbell and The Classic turning up in the picture, this may prove to have even more of his trademark weirdness that fans love.
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