When Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's ...
Rating: PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language
Length: 127 minutes
Released: March 8, 2013 Nationwide
Cast: Mila Kunis, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Abigail Spencer
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: L. Frank Baum, Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire
HOLLYWOOD — Before her current role in “Oz the Great and Powerful,” Mila Kunis had tackled a variety of roles in a wide range of genres over the years, including the likable high schooler Jackie on TV’s “That ’70s Show,” Natalie Portman’s dark rival in thriller “Black Swan” and Mark Wahlberg’s exasperated girlfriend in last year’s Seth MacFarlane comedy “Ted.”
The 29-year-old actress, who is dating her former TV show’s co-star Ashton Kutcher in real life, was tapped by “Spider-Man’” director Sam Raimi to play Theodora, a beautiful but naïve Oz resident, who doesn’t deal well with rejection from a newly arrived stranger she thinks is Oz’s long-awaited savior, the wizard (James Franco). She and her sisters, Glinda (played by Michelle Williams) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz), have a serious case of sibling rivalry that puts the Munchkins and other Oz residents in a whirl.
Dressed nattily in a gold bustier and matching sweater and skirt ensemble by Dolce & Gabbana, Kunis talks about her latest role.
Q: You played your character like a woman scorned. Can you talk about your process?
Kunis: It was one of those things where I got very nervous about playing such an iconic character. At least, a character that has such an iconic end result. I didn’t want to ruin it or recreate it. I didn’t want to reinterpret it. So, in order for me to wrap my head around it, I had to make sense of her origin. It was just given to me kind of like a gift. Here’s a girl who’s incredibly naïve, very young, and doesn’t believe she’s worthy of love. She’s never truly experienced love. She meets James’ character and falls madly in love with him—very quickly, mind you—but nonetheless, and gets her heart broken. While she doesn’t have the emotional tools of heartache, (she) doesn’t want to deal with it and takes the easy way out, given by her sister, and goes through an emotional transformation that’s mirrored by a physical one, and so happens to change color. I honestly just viewed her as a normal girl who gets her heartbroken and just so happens to be (someone) that can fly.
Q: You do quite a lot of roles that require you do by very physical. In this one, you had a lot of wirework for flying against green screen. Do you stay in shape between movies and was it fun?
Kunis: Apparently, I like it because I keep doing movies that require me to be on wires, so I guess I had a great time. It’s just about stamina. The truth is, it’s not hard. It’s really not hard to be wired and have somebody else be responsible for the wirework and your life. (My) only responsibility is only to sustain 17 hours on those wires. Yeah, so I guess I do work out a little bit for that purpose. The movie I’m doing that I’m following up this one (the Wachowskis’ “Jupiter Ascending”) requires a lot more wire training than this one did, but at least this one prepared me for it.
Q: Have you started that?
Kunis: I start next week.
Q: You looked real in charge flying around.
Kunis: I have to tell you, I love it. I will do and have done all my own stunts as much as possible.
Q: How much fun was it to play this over-the-top character? It was kind of different for you.
Kunis: Very rarely are you given the opportunity to play such a fantastical character. That’s the truth. It’s really fun. I say this because I had incredible actors that I felt safe with and I had the most incredible safety net of Sam Raimi and Joe (Roth, the producer). If I didn’t do a great take, they’d give me another one and another one, so I was allowed to play around and have that little tennis match back and forth. If you take that away, it would have been incredibly frightening because my character does have an end result that is so incredibly iconic that (I) didn’t want to mess it up. (I) didn’t want to play around with it too much because then it becomes something completely crazy and not believable. But, oh God, it was so fun to be a part of this world. So fun.
Q: Did you like playing her?
Kunis: Yeah, it’s fun to play somebody who has no boundaries and has no rules. There’s no book you can read on how to play it, so you just create your own version, thereof. So it’s great.