Sam Raimi has paired quite a pair of actresses in Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams as showcased in the Oz the Great and Powerful trailer. The two stars of the recent Oscar-nominated Black Swan and My Week with Marilyn, respectively, are immediately ready to extol all the praise on their director.
“Sam is fantastic. I don’t know where to begin. I would do Craft Service for Sam, if he asked me to,” Kunis said.
“He is probably one of the funniest, sweetest, most gentle human beings that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Aside from being incredibly talented, he is so sincere about the projects that he chooses and the people that he casts. He’s so supportive of everybody around him -- of his crew, most importantly, and of his cast -- that he’s incredibly inspiring to work with. You go to work and you want to make him happy. I think that having that, every day, on a 17-hour-long day, is the greatest gift you can give anybody.”
After sitting patiently, waiting to give her two cents on Raimi, Williams added, "You called the cinematic genius part right," she said and turned to her co-star.
“I have never made a movie like this before. I’ve never made such a big movie before. I didn’t know what it was going to be like. I didn’t know if the things that interest me and the things that concern me, Sam would have time for or patience for. And not only did he have time and patience for them, at the beginning when we were rehearsing, but he had time and patience for them on the 17th hour of the sixth day. I found him to be a collaborator and a friend and a confidant, and a partner in everything. I felt like it was a very holistic experience for me. It was a real melding of my work life and my personal life, my film family and my real family.”
Kunis is coy when describing her role. “I don’t want to give away exactly what my character is. You could never replicate, nor would you ever want to. She’s so iconic and so fantastic, in her own right,” Kunis said. Heading into filming, to say she was a little fearful is too tame a description. “Truly, I was frightened. The only thing that I could do was try to be as honest to the character as I possibly could.”
The film that spawned Oz the Great and Powerful has a special spot in the hearts of its two leads, especially for Kunis, born in the Ukraine.
“One of the first films I ever saw in the States, in 1991, was The Wizard of Oz. It was probably the first movie, as a kid, that I truly gravitated towards and loved so much so that my parents, in the process of me learning English, decided to get me the Return to Oz book -- as my very first book to read in English that wasn’t a picture book,” she proudly said.
“I do have a weird connection to the original Wizard of Oz, including the original books. That was the first book that I read.”
Williams is touched to even be a part of the world that contains the Judy Garland classic. “My association with the movie is probably like everyone’s association with the movie. You see it over and over again,” the Oscar nominee said. “For this moment in time, you get to walk in the footsteps of this very beloved character -- it feels like a real honor.”
Even so familiar with the story, Williams returned to the text and dove into discovering her witchy character. “I read them very carefully and with a highlighter, underlining things about Glinda and turns of phrases that she might use,” Williams said. Even minute details were fertile ground for inspiration. “Even how she would wear her hair I found very useful.”