OUTFITTING OSCAR DIGGS aka OzCostume designer Gary Jones worked closely with both director Sam Raimi and actor James Franco to conceive the look of Oscar Diggs aka Oz, saying, “In preparing Oz’s clothes, Sam had a very clear idea what he wanted. I had met with James as well, and we were all heading in the same direction, which was terrific.” Jones’ research for Franco’s tailoring took him on a journey that had nostalgic meaning for the veteran costumer, who has a history with Ringling Bros. “Our story begins in a circus, which is the most period-accurate part of the film,” the longtime designer says. “We researched everything from the largest circus to the poorest, most downtrodden carnival entertainers from the turn-of-the-century to the Dust Bowl. We covered the period between 1880-1930 in our research. Having worked with the Ringling Bros. circus was an added joy because I loved that experience. So, to have another moment with a circus was really terrific for me.” With inspiration and some vintage photos in hand, Jones met actor James Franco in a SoHo coffee shop in New York, where he shared the photos he had brought from the turn-of-the-century. Some were of Alexander Graham Bell, some of the Wright Brothers—all people that L. Frank Baum had admired. “Those were things that we started with and that’s how we got to Oz’s final wardrobe design—a black cutaway suit from the turn-of-the-century, which I am very proud to have designed,” Jones concludes. Franco, commenting on his costume, says, “I only have one look in this film, a three-piece suit that Oz wears in Kansas. I think it’s safe to say that that was my favorite outfit in the film! Knowing that people dressed really well in the old days, I enjoyed wearing that three-piece suit quite a bit.” June 11 OZ The Great and Powerful comes to DVD
Is Oz The Great and Powerful worth seeing in the theater?
Is Oz The Great and Powerful worth seeing in 3D?
Do The Actors in Oz The Great and Powerful fit their characters?
Because Sam Raimi put thought into every decision he made in creating Oz The Great and Powerful. We had the chance to sit down with Sam Raimi the director of Oz The great and powerful and pick his brain about creating a prequel to the classic movie The Wizard of OZ.
What’s it like having the weight of the Oz movie on your shoulders?
I 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.
He went on to say that he wouldn’t even read the script for a while. A few weeks went by and he finally read something a writer gave him and he started falling in love with the characters and the world of OZ. He loved the idea of a selfish man with goodness inside him is able to transform into a good man. Which helped him choose the actor James Franco.
At first he wanted Johnny Depp and that wasn’t working out for him and he thought about James. He had a history with James on Spiderman and really felt that James Franco was OZ. He was a man that in the beginning of his acting career was a little bit selfish and looked only at himself but over the years in the industry has grown into a good man with a heart. And that’s actually how he chooses all of his characters. It’s more than an audition for him. Actors will come in and pretend to be someone, he wants to strip all that acting away and find the raw character in each of them.
And that’s what casting’s about for me. Finding the essence of the character in a person……basically, different actors I heard wanted to come in and read and audition for the role. And I’d meet and talk with them. And it went very much like any other process for the actors, for the technicians. We would discuss the work. And if we found that we were talking about the same thing and we’re really connecting, then usually we would bring them aboard for the project.
What about the sets?
I can’t believe that most of the movie the sets are real. I can’t imagine stepping into a china house and the plants, oh man you have to see this movie.
It was important for me to have real places for the actors to touch and see so they could ground the movie. Because it’s such a fantastical adventure, I really needed to ground it more than a regular drama with real human performances. We had to explain the emotions that we understand and can connect to.We also had sets because I wanted a very unique look in Chinatown, a unique look in Emerald City. I wanted the Land of Oz to be this uniquely fantastical place. The dark forest to be a particular type of scary, et cetera. So many worlds within this fantastic world.……James Franco on that yellow brick road. Dappled sunlight happening on that yellow brick road, the CG artists had to continue that world to do just that….They don’t have to create it on their own because I thought I’d lose control of the look of the picture. So I wanted to specifically always have some stylistic element on film and the artist’s job was to extend.
What about the scare factor?
Sam Raimi admitted that this was always at the foremost part of his mind. He had to keep Oz The Great and Powerful a family movie. If you think about The Wizard of OZ there are a few scary parts in the movie. OZ The Great and Powerful has the same types of scary scenes as the The Wizard of OZ.
there really isn’t any violence in the movie. The worst it gets is, the scary baboons that come out of the mist. Then they go looking for our main characters so they hide in the cave. Or there’s a scary witch at the very end. But I thought, I changed the makeup once or twice to make it a little less scary.
Oz The Great and Powerful has an amazing mix of great actors, real sets extended by CGI, fantastic costumes, and the heart of a Wizard. Oz The Great and Powerful flies into theaters March 8th.