Oz The Great and Powerful- Director Sam Raimi Interview #DisneyOzEvent


485162_10103092857355884_619387120_n(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage)

I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t readily identify Sam Raimi.  I hope my husband doesn’t read this.  One of his all time favorite movies is Army of Darkness.  He actually wooed me during our courtship with lines from the movie.  I can’t tell you how many times my husband has said, “Gimme some sugar, baby”.

Clearly, I’ve been hiding under a shell, as Sam Raimi is a powerful storyteller and director.  Spider-Man?  Yep, that’ him.  Spider-Man 2? Yep.  I imagine it takes a brave soul to tap into the Wizard of Oz storyline.  The Judy Garland classic is considered one of the most popular movies of all time.  Clearly, the creation of Oz The Great and Powerful would require careful consideration.  Not surprisingly our first question asked him how he carried the weight of Oz on his shoulders.  He replied that he had “a great sense of responsibility not to tread upon the good name and the beloved classic, “The Wizard of Oz”.  That was my biggest fear”.


photo courtesy of ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Obviously his response creates another question- why would he work on a prequel to such a classic movie?  Apparently he didn’t even initially want to read the script.  But upon giving the story a chance he discovered he loved the uplifting nature of the story.  Ultimately he loves watching Oz, a selfish guy, learn how to let a little goodness into his heart.

Our next question involved how Raimi determined the level of scariness, within the film, so as not to turn away families.  Raimi ensured that there was no violence in the film and the scariest part involves some flying fierce baboons and a scary witch, though he did manage to alter the makeup so as not to be too frighting.  But he also remembers as a child that The Wizard of Oz was wonderful, but scary.  Ultimately he tried very hard to find a balance that allowed for some scary parts without turning parents away from the film.

sam raimi disney pic 1

photo courtesy of ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Our next part of the interview was surprising as Sam Raimi was completely frank and honest regarding his observations of main actor- James Franco.  He mentioned that he had not considered James as the lead initially, but had pursued Johnny Depp and a couple of other actors who never came together.  When he heard that James was interested he determined that he would ultimately be a good fit.  Raimi had known Franco for ten plus years and had seen him “be a little selfish and a little into himself” and understood that as a youth “he had those failings”.  But he had also seen him form a consciousness and a kindness with other actors.  And ultimately he had to find the essence of the character in the actor and he found that with Franco.  Raimi even mentions that he identifies himself with Oz and wanting to be a better person.  I imagine Raimi is not alone in this wish and that is partially what makes the movie so powerful.

Next we couldn’t help but ask which character was his favorite in the film.   Surprisingly Raimi found Evanora to be his favorite.  Her raw undeniable nastiness impressed him.  But he also couldn’t help that to mention that the China Girl was his sweetheart as well.

Raimi filmed Oz in Michigan, his home state and takes pride in bringing jobs to this economically challenged area of the U.S. Since much of the set was actually created a lot of work was required to determine the level of CGI enhancement.

Our interview ended with a question surround a potential sequel.  Raimi stated that, that decision would have to be made by Disney.  But I have feeling we will see the creation of this continuation of the story in a few years.

While I enjoyed our interview with Sam Raimi himself, it was actually our interviews with the other actors of the film that I came to understand his character.  Michelle Williams and James Franco, in particular, had such respect for him and only the kindest of comments.  I couldn’t help but think that they looked to him as a sort of father figure.  Clearly, Sam Raimi is a direct, intelligent, and observant individual.  And I for one, can’t wait to see what project he takes on next!

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OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL lands in theaters on March 8th!

oz disney

Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. 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 wizard but into a better man as well.

My trip to the #DisneyOzEvent was funded entirely by Disney, however all opinions are my own.


  1. Kelly Ann T. says

    I loved that he filmed in Michigan to help the economy. I have seen the previews and this is an interesting take on the creation of Oz.

    • Kelly the film was originally set to film in Canada, but he brought it to his home state of Michigan instead. Isn’t that awesome!?

  2. My husband’s favorite sports film is a Raimi movie!

  3. I have to admit I’m a little nervous about the movie. I have read all of the books and I hope that the movie can capture the spirit of the stories by Mr. Baum.

    I have to say that hearing the snippets of the thought process of the director is quite encouraging.


  4. Interesting. I had no idea!

  5. Very interesting. i just hope that this movie is as good as the original was.

  6. Diane Sallans says

    what an imagination it takes to get this story told

  7. I’m so excited to see this movie! It sounds like Sam Raimi put a lot of thought and careful consideration into it.

  8. love the point of view in this post very interesting

  9. Megan Parsons says

    I’m starting to get excited about this movie!

  10. I will wait to see this version “remake” when it airs on television. The original “The Wizard of Oz” movie is a timeless classic and one of the best family movies of all time. I doubt any version or remake will live up to the flawless original that stands the test of time and remains a favorite even in today’s modern world.

    • I agree The Wizard of Oz is an original and distinct within itself. I would not recommend comparing the two movies. They are wonderful for different reasons.

  11. i can’t wait to see this movie! i’m sure michelle williams is great in it

  12. Iam 64 years old and it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks. I hope that this film is one to fall in love with as the old .

  13. Charlotte Raynor says

    I never thought there would ever be a sequel to the Wizard of Oz. The move looks interesting and James Franco is one of my favorite actors. I may have to go see it. Thanks for the great review! 🙂

  14. This movie looks fantastic! Love the interviews!

  15. We can’t wait to see it. my husband wants to go opening night but I think it’ll be really crowded. Thanks for the review

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

  16. Ellen Anderson says

    Very interesting post!

  17. Andrew L. says

    Wow I didn’t know this was filmed in Michigan! That’s my home state as well. Too cool!

  18. jules mcnubbin says

    i am very excited to see this movie, in fact i already bought tickets for the saturday matinee in 3D! 🙂

  19. Sylvia Ortiz says

    Very intrigued to see this movie rendition of the Wizard of Oz. Looks exciting!

  20. Sue Hull says

    How awesome that he brought it to Michigan. I’m glad that James Franco is playing the main character. I love johnny depp but I think Franco will do a great job being this character. I just can’t wait to see it. I have seen the commercials and I have a 9 yr old neice but I’m not sure if she should see this. It looks pretty scary.That’s just my opinion. Thanks 🙂


  1. […] Be sure to check out my previous interview posts with Michelle Williams and Sam Raimi. […]

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