Sam Raimi, who brought us Spiderman, is an unassuming, thoughtful man with an imagination that could swallow the world. And, in fact, in his upcoming film – soon to be the acclaimed picture that it deserves to be – Oz The Great and Powerful, his imagination does swallow the Emerald City and he treats us to every little detail that he can think of.

Sam Raimi #DisneyOzEvent

From the genius casting to the story told with the utmost respect for the past film, Sam Raimi touched and moved this prequel into cinematic creativity.  The bright colors, cleaver innuendos and ever so slight details make this film one you will have to see over and over again.

While in Hollywood for the World Premier, I was honored to sit down with 24 other bloggers – you can follow all of us at hashtag #DisneyOzEvent on Twitter – to talk to this legend in the making.  Though a bit less animated than his cast of characters that we also got to talk to, there was no doubt that this man’s solemn  professional stance could break out into a colorful, imaginative character of his own.

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How did it feel to have the weight of the Oz movie on your shoulders?

Oh, it was such a great sense of responsibility not to tread upon the good name and the beloved classic, The Wizard of Oz. It was a heavy responsibility. I did not wanna read the script.  When I heard it was a prequel to The Wizard of Oz I said, “I don’t wanna mess with that classic.” And so I didn’t read the script.  The And then a couple weeks later And somebody said, “Read this. It’s a writing sample.”

So under that auspices I read the script and I’m falling in love with this story and this world and these characters.  And so I thought, That’s why I gotta make this movie ‘cause I feel uplifted by the end of this thing.  Watching the main character learn.  This selfish guy found a little bit of goodness in his heart and learned how to become this selfless individual. that could be really uplifting for the audience.

So it’s really those things that drove me to make it.  I thought, “If that’s really what I make the movie about, I won’t be treading on the good name of The Wizard of Oz at all ‘cause it’s another positive story.” Yes?

Sam Raimi & James Franco #DisneyOzEvent

How did you make your judgment call on what was going to be too scary and how to reign back the scary so that that it still was a child’s or a family film?

That’s something I was weighing all throughout the process.  In the writing of the script I’d made sure there was no violence in the thing ‘cause I really wanted to make it a family picture.  in the thing.  The worst it gets is the baboons come out of the mist where they go looking for our main characters so they hide in the cave.  And there’s a scary witch at the very end but we changed the makeup once or twice to make it a little less scary.

But then I thought, you know, when I think back on ‘The Wizard of Oz’.  They used to show it like every Thanksgiving or every Christmas, I can’t remember which.  But I remember thinking, “This is the  sweetest movie I’ve ever seen. But it’s also the scariest.” [LAUGHS] So I tried to find a line like you’re saying where it’s scary for  the kids, but not so scary the parents think, “I  shouldn’t have brought my child to see this.”

Which character would you say it your absolute favorite out of all of them?

Well I — I — I admire Evanora.  The, uh, Rachel Weisz’s character because she’s so nasty. And she doesn’t try and hide it. I mean she, yes, she puts on illusions but she really digs who she is.  That’s like my mother, you know.


On the record or off the record?


No, it’s alright.  My mother knows who she is.  But I, I admire that about that character.  But I think I love James Franco’s character. There’s so much I can identify with personally. I understand wanting to become a better person..I mean it’s a dream.  Whether I’d ever have the courage of that character to do what he did I don’t know. But I can relate to the character.  I understand his failings and his simple desires and his low qualities.

And I love the China Girl. She’s, for me, my sweetheart.  Yes.

Sam Raimi #DisneyOzEvent

How different was it working on this movie as opposed to other movies that you done before?

Well the size of it was enormous.  That took some getting used to.  Because the Land of Oz is how Frank Baum wrote it, it was — it has such impassible deserts, fantastical waterfalls, outrageous mountains and woods.  We couldn’t really go and shoot Ireland and let it work for the green hills or we couldn’t shoot some great New Zealand mountainscape ‘cause it just wasn’t outrageous and unique enough.  So everything had to be created in the computer.

And working with the great production designer, Robert Stromberg, he did that by creating the smallest things first. The smallest blade of grass. What does it look like in Oz? What does the smallest blossom look like? And then multiplying by a thousand to see what a field might look like. And everything had to be created.  There was not a pocket watch that should have been manufactured by some Swiss company. No, no, it had to be an Oz watch. Every car had to be handcrafted.  So the enormity of building a world was the most difficult job.

It was a great honor to be in the room with a really unique Hollywood Director!  Don’t miss Oz the Great and Powerful hitting theaters in 3D March 8, 2013!

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**I will receive an all expense paid trip in exchange for honest reviews and discussions regarding these events.  No monetary compensation will be received.  Please see my Disclosure Statement for more information.**