INTERVIEW WITH MILA KUNIS FOR OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great And Powerful uncovers the origins of the beloved wizard character first brought to life in L. Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. As a cinematic prequel to the book, the eye-popping action follows the story of Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics. When Diggs is hurled away to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot – until he meets three witches, who aren’t convinced he’s the great wizard everyone is expecting. Reluctantly drawn into epic problems facing Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late.
Sam Raimi is the acclaimed director behind the action-packed spectacle, which boasts a stellar cast including James Franco as Oscar Diggs, the predestined wizard; Mila Kunis as the tormented young witch Theodora; Rachel Weisz as Theodora’s older sister, Evanora, the witch who rules over the Emerald City; and Michelle Williams as Glinda, the good witch.
With the Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD of Oz The Great And Powerful about to be released, we chat to Mila Kunis to discover more about the project…
How did you get involved with Oz The Great And Powerful?
When I first met with [Oz The Great And Powerful director] Sam Raimi, we talked for four hours about the different characters – but from the very beginning, I gravitated toward Theodora. I had a great meeting, but I never thought for two seconds that I would appear in the movie. But then, a week later, Sam called and offered me the role. I was like, “What? Seriously?”
What was it like to walk on to the set of Oz The Great And Powerful for the first time?
[Production designer] Robert Stromberg did such a beautiful job designing the sets. When you walk on to the set, you see it and you feel it. You can stand in Glinda’s castle. You can stand in the Emerald City. You can stand in the cemetery or in the Whimsy Woods. Everything was tangible and real. It was amazing.
How much did you enjoy working with Sam Raimi on the project?
I love Sam. He’s great, he’s brilliant, he’s sweet, he’s kind, he’s generous, and he’s wonderful. He’s a great director.
What did you learn from working with him?
What did I learn? I learned a lot of things. I learned how to wear a corset and I learned how to fly. I learned a lot about patience, too. Sam is incredibly patient with his crew and his cast. He’s also incredibly trustworthy. Oh, and I learned that it gets very cold in Detroit [where the movie was shot] during wintertime and very hot during spring!
What does the 1939 movie The Wizard Of Oz and the books of Frank L. Baum mean to you?
The first book that I ever read in English, past the alphabet books and the kid books, was Return To Oz. I came to America when I was seven and a half years old, but that was the first English book I read. Then, I was doing an interview two years ago – way before this movie was ever even in existence to me – and I was asked: “What movie do you remember seeing as a child that changed your life?” I said, “The Wizard Of Oz.” When you are nine years old and you see such a magical, beautiful movie with so many lights and colors, you really want to immerse yourself in it. It’s such a fantastical movie. I loved it.
At the start of Oz The Great And Powerful, your character is a girl who desperately wants to believe in good. Are you similar in real life, too?
Yes, I think so. I really do. I believe in good, and I don’t necessarily believe in the opposite – but I am not as naïve as my character. For example, I do believe that there are some people with a malicious intent, but I don’t think my character does in the beginning.
What do you think of the costumes in Oz The Great And Powerful?
The costumes in the movie are beautiful and incredibly ornate. Everything is handmade and hand-stitched, but there’s a corset underneath every single one of them, so they are incredibly uncomfortable to wear. That’s the truth. They look beautiful on a mannequin and they look beautiful in real life, but they aren’t comfortable when you’re hung up on wires 30 feet in the air for 17 hours. You have to put everything into consideration. Wearing the costume for two hours was not a problem. Wearing it for 17 hours… Ouch.
How much do you enjoy fashion, Mila?
I like fashion in spurts. I can appreciate fashion and I’ve learned to value it. I have also learned to admire it and I’ve learned to look at it and acknowledge it.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
My new favorite thing to do is to get out of Los Angeles. I like to go to the middle of nowhere; anywhere where there are no people.
Do you seek a more quiet life away from the spotlight and hustle of Los Angeles?
Yes. But to be clear, it’s not work that’s keeping me here in Los Angeles. It is one hundred percent my mom and my grandparents. My family is here and if I could move them, I would - I am very close to my family.
What else do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love reading the news. I like to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the world. I like to wake up in the morning and have my coffee while watching the news on television. And at night, I like to cap off the day with a different news channel. There are also a lot of different apps that circulate constant information throughout the day, which I’m hooked into.
Are you into magic?
I love magic shows. I love ‘slight of hand’ and things like that. I also love the movie, Hocus Pocus. That’s magical.
What about palm readers and psychics?
I see nothing wrong with psychics or palm readers, but I don’t seek them out. I think they are fun and fantastic, but I’ve never had any personal experiences with them.
Have you ever wondered what a psychic might say about your future?
Totally. I’m curious about things like that, but there’s also a part of me that doesn’t want to know. I don’t want to walk in there and be told, “You’re going to mess up.” I’ll figure that out on my own.
What magical power would you most like to possess?
The ability to fly would be great, but it would also be nice to be invisible. I’d love to walk around and see what people are talking about. I would also love to wander around a park or travel somewhere incognito.
What else would you get up to if you were invisible?
I would love to go to the mall to look at things. I’d roam around for hours and not have anybody look back at me. And I would love to go to the supermarket, too. Are you kidding me? I’d have a blast.
People blog and write about you all the time. Does the attention and criticism annoy you?
I will give you the simplest answer: I don’t Google myself. I don’t know what people are saying – and frankly, I don’t care.
Does this mean you avoid the Internet?
Just because I don’t Google myself doesn’t mean I am not on the Internet. I don’t Facebook or Tweet, but there are other networking sites out there. There’s one called Pack, which is a private version of Facebook, and I think it’s great. I’m online all the time. Are you kidding me? That’s how I get my news, my information… It’s how I go shopping. I don’t need to Google myself, but I definitely go online.
How difficult is it to avoid the many stories that are written about you in the press?
I can avoid it. If you see a photo of yourself [online], you can just scroll right past it. If you’re at the grocery store and there’s a picture on the front of a magazine, you can just walk right past it. There are never good things written [in those magazines] because good things don’t sell, but I don’t need to feel bad about myself. And it’s also not real life. Just because one person says you are fat or ugly or tall or short doesn’t make it true. It’s one person who’s got nothing better to do. And it goes the same for the person who says you are beautiful or stunning or tall or skinny or whatever. With all the positives, you should accept the negatives because they go hand in hand. I would rather not accept anything.
- Oz The Great and Powerful new Blu-Ray combo pack comes out June 11, 2013.