Mila Kunis Interview For ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’
Sam Raimi’s ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot – fame and fortune are his for the taking – that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity – and even a bit of wizardry – Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well. ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ is out now. My other interviews for the film can be found through the followings links (more to come): James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff. In the film Mila Kunis plays Theodora, a beautiful, naive witch who is protected by her powerful sister Evanora. Theodora only wants peace to come to the Land of Oz and truly believes that a prophesied wizard will arrive someday to restore order.
I understand at first you had some trepidation when you were approached to play Theodora?
Mila Kunis: Yeah. I mean it was Sam Raimi first and ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ in the same sentence. It wasn’t so much intriguing as it was frightening to me, and that’s the truth. I went to meet Sam and what was supposed to be a thirty-minute meet ended up being like four hours long. We broke down the character and the script and grounded everything in reality, which was incredibly comforting to me. What I think intrigued me about it was the unknown. I’ve never done anything remotely close to this. In saying that, you have to challenge yourself, and I felt safe in the challenge because I was surrounded by people whom I respected so much – Sam first and foremost.
And what was it about Theodora as a character that drew you to play her?
Mila Kunis: Theodora is a really nice, sweet, naive witch who truly wants to bring peace to the land. She is a girl who desperately wants to believe in good and believe in the betterment of society, the betterment of the people and the betterment of the world. But Theodora only sees the good. She is in so much denial of the bad that she doesn’t even think it exists. And she falls in love, gets her heart broken and can’t deal with it. I think Theodora is incredibly relatable. She’s a woman scorned, she’s a woman that gets her heart broken, it’s a young girl that doesn’t want to deal with the emotional stress of a broken heart. Her story kind of shows the easy way out… when you don’t want to deal with the emotional aspect of pain this is what happens – in a mystical, magical, fantastical world, of course (laughs). I think very rarely are you given the opportunity to play a character that has so many transformations, so that was a big thing for me – I thought that would be a very fun aspect to play with.
She’s so deeply wrapped up in the prophecy….
Mila Kunis: Yeah (laughs). There’s a prophecy that Glinda’s father predicted on his deathbed saying that this man would come and save this Land of Oz. She sees this balloon drop from the sky and on the balloon it says ‘The Great and Powerful Oz’. So without a doubt in her mind, she believes that this is the great and powerful wizard that is coming to save the Land of Oz from the Wicked Witch. And she falls madly, deeply in love with the Wizard (laughs). I loved her arc in the film. For me ‘Oz The Great and Powerful brings a little more sincerity and truth to all the characters. And, while being funny and endearing, it very much stays true to the original concepts that L. Frank Baum created.
What was it like working on these fantastical sets Robert Stromberg and his team put together? I can imagine that really helps inform your performance….?
Mila Kunis: Robert is absolutely brilliant. I think it made everything so much more realistic because it became tangible. You walked onto the set and you were in Glinda’s castle, you were in Emerald City, Whimsie Woods, or you were on the Yellow Brick Road – instead of imagining it. And imagining what it looks like is great in its own right, because all of the depth aspects of it was put in afterwards, but the initial foreground was so fun to play with. Just skipping on the Yellow Brick Road was weird and unbelievable (laughs). But, no weirder than being surrounded by a flying monkey and oversized flowers and men that are 8 feet tall. I would say it was weird, but when you put it all together, it was a normal workday for us (laughs). It was so great working on this film, everyone was so talented. It was the best of the best in every department.
Earlier you mentioned how Sam Raimi was a big reason for you joining ‘Oz The Great and Powerful.’ How was the experience actually working with him?
Mila Kunis: Sam’s great, Sam’s the most collaborative director I’ve worked with. He respects the cast and he respects the crew, most importantly. He loves filmmaking so much. And Sam really makes you excited. He’s so detail orientated, he wants you to have every ounce of detail in your head before you start a scene, for why you’re saying what you’re saying, why you look at who you’re looking at, why you moved there, what you relationship was with that person? It’s all hypotheticals and he wants to know all of this. And it’s not because he’s testing you, it’s because you realise as you’re talking to him you’re building your own backstory, and there’s a reason for the choices you are making. It was so great because you’re not wrong, there’s no right way or no wrong way about acting, but it gives you something linear to go by. Sam’s fantastic, I could go on and on and on (laughs). He listens and he cares. He’s truly one of the greatest directors I’ve ever worked with.
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