Walt Disney Studios has provided us with an official list of character descriptions (more or less spoiler-free) and what they have dubbed ‘Fun Facts: Part One,’ which gives some additional insight into the creation of the prequel of the classic L. Frank Baum series of books.
Debuting in theaters on March 8, 2013 and directed by Sam Raimi, Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great and Powerful 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.
OFFICIAL CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS
OZ (OSCAR DIGGS) (James Franco)
Oscar Diggs, aka Oz, is a small-time magician who takes his magic act on the road as part of a traveling circus in the Midwest. A man with dubious ethics, Oz is a handsome, charming charlatan who is skilled at smooth-talking his way out of problems. When he is hurled into the magical Land of Oz, Oscar faces a fight-or-flight dilemma that holds the fate of a kingdom in the balance, forcing him to decide what kind of man he truly is before it is too late.
FRANK (Zach Braff)
Frank is Oz’s assistant and right-hand man — he’s the money handler, costume mender and prop wrangler for Oz’s magic act. Frank is put upon and underappreciated but is Oz’s only friend.
THEODORA (Mila Kunis)
Theodora is a beautiful, naïve 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.
FINLEY (Zach Braff, voice)
Finley is a winged monkey that accompanies Oz on his journey. Finley doesn’t have a high opinion of Oscar and lets him know it. Ultimately he becomes a loyal ally and helps Oz discover his true self.
EVANORA (Rachel Weisz)
A witch to be feared, Evanora is Theodora’s over-protective sister. With her penetrating gaze, she exudes a powerful presence and has positioned herself as the royal advisor and protector of Emerald City.
GLINDA (Michelle Williams)
Glinda is a good witch who rules over a peaceful kingdom of simple, kind folk. Beautiful Glinda is not only a compassionate and benevolent witch, but also a fierce protector of her people. Though Glinda sees through Oz’s façade early on, she knows genuine goodness lies within and helps Oz achieve his true destiny.
CHINA GIRL (Joey King, voice)
China Girl is from the village of China Town, where everything, including the inhabitants, is made of china. When destruction befalls her land, the brave, resilient China Girl encounters Oz and they strike up an unlikely friendship.
KNUCK (Tony Cox)
Knuck is a dour, unsmiling Munchkin, who, as the Herald of Emerald City, announces all the visitors. Despite his cantankerous demeanor, he is loyal to Glinda and thus reluctantly becomes Oz’s ally.
The Winkies are the formidable, spear-carrying, 8-foot tall, uniformed guards of Emerald City under the command of Evanora.
The Quadlings are inhabitants of Glinda’s kingdom. They are kind-hearted, simple country folk who are mostly farmers.
The Tinkers, who live in Glinda’s kingdom, are tall, thin, old men with long, white beards and elfish ears who can build anything. What they lack in stamina they more than make up for in ingenuity. They are led by the Master Tinker, who Oz finds the perfect foil for his plans.
The Munchkins are giggling, happy little people, who live peaceful lives singing and making pretty clothes. Though they don’t have a care in the world, they are loyal to Glinda and do their best to help her if and when she needs them.
FILM FUN FACTS (PART ONE)
- Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful imagines the origins of the beloved wizard, who debuted in author L. Frank Baum’s first book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum, who wrote 14 novels between 1900-1920, all set in the fantasyland he so vividly created, never fully portrayed the wizard’s background. Oz The Great and Powerful is a cinematic prequel to Baum’s books, offering a unique movie-going experience. Although some of the characters in Oz The Great and Powerful are familiar from L. Frank Baum’s books, they have been reimagined, plus there are many never-seen-before characters in the film, such as China Girl and the Quadlings.
- The fantasy world of Oz The Great and Powerful was brought to life by Academy Award®–winning production designer Robert Stromberg. In all, Stromberg designed 24 full sets plus several partial sets, bringing the total to around 30. Stromberg created such iconic sets as the famed Yellow Brick Road and Emerald City, all freshly designed and imagined, along with such highly anticipated, new designs as the witch’s Throne Room, the Whimsie Woods (where Oz meets Theodora), the Dark Forest, which introduces Glinda the good witch in the story, and China Town, whose inhabitants are made up entirely of porcelain.
- James Franco, who plays Oscar Diggs (aka Oz), had to learn magic tricks in order to accurately portray his small-time, circus magician character. He came to set two weeks early so he could work with Las Vegas magician Lance Burton. Working every day, Franco learned tricks involving doves and fire as well as how to pull objects out of hats and how to make things levitate.
- The production hired German artist and illustrator Michael Kutsche to bring the witches’ looks and worlds, as envisioned by production designer Robert Stromberg, to reality. Kutsche conceptualized the witches’ costumes as well and serves as a costume designer on the film along with Gary Jones.
- Costume designer Gary Jones and his team embarked on an ambitious project to clothe over 1500 actors, from the smallest Munchkin to the tallest Winkie, over a 23-week period. For the principal characters alone (Oz, Theodora, Glinda and Evanora) there were well over 200 pieces.
- James Franco has only one costume in the film — the three-piece suit that Oz is wearing when he is hurled away from Kansas. But veteran costume designer Gary Jones carefully researched the era from 1880-1930 to design the perfect suit. He then met with Franco in New York City to show him vintage photos from the turn-of-the-century that ultimately inspired his final design—a black cutaway suit.
- There are over 3,000 props used in Oz The Great and Powerful, with 1400 of them manufactured specifically for the film. These do not include the 5000 coins Prop master Russell Bobbitt had made especially to fill Oz’s treasure chest. One side of the coin is stamped with an image of the Yellow Brick Road and on the other side there is an image of author L. Frank Baum.
- Greensman Dan Gillooly was very resourceful in finding natural elements in the Detroit suburbs that would enhance the sets in Oz The Great and Powerful. Scouting the area, he came across an orchard full of dead peach trees and used the limbs to create the spooky Dark Forest. Another find that added to the texture and vibe of the Dark Forest were thistles, which came from a nearby field he found in his countryside ramblings.