Monthly Archives: February 2013

Oz in the News 2.28.13

James-Franco-and-Sam-Raimi-on-SetSpeaking With The Wizards Of Oz  Sam Raimi: “I drew it all from the great author L. Frank Baum, his vision of Oz, that he had written about in 14 some books. And then, I was also inspired by the illustrator, W. W. Denslow, he was the original illustrator of the L. Frank Baum books. So a lot of inspiration was taken from his drawings. But I was also inspired by the great classic movie, Wizard of Oz, of course, who would not be inspired by that? A lot of the visuals of the movie, but more than the visuals; what inspired me about the Wizard of Oz movie, was the character’s sense of love that they have for each other. How friends come together and that very soulful sweet message that comes at the end of the picture when we learn from the Wizard that all of us are complete, all of us broken, lonely individuals are completely, we have within us the thing to make us complete if we only recognize it. That gave me a great source of inspiration.”  James Franco: “I’ve been a fan of the Oz books, L. Frank Baum Oz books since I was a boy. I read all of them when I was age 11. They were some of the first books that I read on my own for pleasure and I’ve worked with the director, Sam Raimi, in three previous films and so this was another chance to work with him. And then in addition to that, I saw the role as something I could have a lot of fun with and, and could be fairly creative with. He was written as a comedic character within this fantastical world, and I found that combination to be fairly unusual and I just thought it would be a juxtaposition of two different things, comedy and fantasy that would, would result in something entertaining.”

Making Oz the Great and Powerful took courage  Like Kunis’s witch, Williams’ Glinda is iconic but the actress tried to ignore referencing The Wizard of Oz. So did Kunis, whose Theodora transforms into a nostalgically evil likeness after a series of events. “In order for me to wrap my head around what I was doing I had to think of Theodora in a separate context,” said Kunis. “Here is a girl who falls madly in love and she doesn’t have the emotional tools to deal with rejection.” Mostly, she tried to avoid the original wicked witch performance. “I wasn’t going to touch it,” she said. “What I do is a love letter.”

Big Dog Ink Gets Even More Wicked with Legends of Oz  In Legends of Oz, Big Dog Ink takes advantage of the limited series format to bring you in depth looks at the origins of some of your favorite characters.  The first in the collection of planned character studies and standalone vignettes, The Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow will be a two issue miniseries devoted to everyone’ favorite mysterious sidekick.  Join Big Dog Ink and writer Pat Shand as we delve deeper into the origins of the quirky Scarecrow who’s out to prove that just because she’s a mysterious puppet created by evil magic, it doesn’t mean she can’t be pure good!

Oz in the News 2.27.13

‘Oz’ fest: Chicago startup creates ‘Wizard of Oz’-themed game More than a century after L. Frank Baum penned “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in his Humboldt Park home, a Chicago-based high-tech start-up called Spooky Cool Labs has created a licensed city-building Facebook game, called “The Wizard of Oz,” based on the adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the rest of Baum’s weird, wonderful creations.  The timing of the deal amused the company’s marketing director, Bob Holtzman, who already owned a small terrier bred in Kansas he named “Oz” that happens to look like Toto. “It was like a match made in heaven,” he said.

Oz in the News 2.25.13

2Reimagining Oz: Skater Artist Michael Sieben Illustrates New Edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz “Elizabeth Sullivan, an editor at Harper Collins, found my work in a Juxtapoz Illustration annual and thought I’d be a good match for the project. She contacted me out of the blue and pitched the idea, and I said yes with zero hesitation.  I felt like I’d already been drawing some of the characters, specifically the scarecrow and the lion. I rarely draw feminine characters in my work, so developing the art for Dorothy proved to be a bit challenging, but other than that it was a pretty seamless project to work on. It’s always been a dream of mine to illustrate children’s books. I feel like I started at the top with this one; nowhere to go but down from here. It was definitely the most intense project I’ve worked on so far. Over 60 illustrations from concept [to] sketch to completion in three months, which coincided with the birth of my son. Crazy days.  I hid my son’s initials in one of the spreads.”

Oz in the News 2.23.13

silent-wizard-of-oz113 years in the land of Oz: A look at the wizard’s world  Angelica Carpenter, a former president of the International Wizard of Oz Club said that for her, it comes down to Baum’s creativity. “The basic story is the basic fantasy adventure that you hear repeated across many cultures,” she said. “An orphan sets off walking in a rural landscape, having adventures, meeting danger, finding helpful friends, and eventually returning to where she came from changed and enriched by her experience. But Baum was so creative, and made such wonderful characters with the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow.” She added: “It was the quintessential American tale when he first wrote it, and I think that is still true.”

Oz in the News 2.21.13

Wicked Author Gregory Maguire is Headed Out of Oz  “When I was signing books, a woman came up to me. She was very tall, she had on a trenchcoat and a brim-snapped hat, and she came to me and she peered down into my face, and she said, ‘I have a confession to make.’ I said, ‘Yes?’ She looked this way, she looked that. She said, ‘I’m from the official international Wizard of Oz club, and I’ve come to spy on you and report back to our minions. But … I’ve become a convert!’ And then she threw off her hat and bought three books and had them all signed for her mother and her husband and her children. I think that’s sort of what happened. It took the Oz people a little bit longer to realize, yes, I was playing around with sacred material, but not in any way to disgrace the original material, just actually to make it seem richer and to make its richness make more sense.”

Oz in the News 2.20.13

The Land of Oz Garden Magically Appears at Epcot  Although the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially opens Wednesday, March 6, one new garden has appeared a little early. The Land of Oz Garden is open now and at almost one third of an acre, it’s the largest garden ever created for the festival. The area is based on the new Disney film, “Oz The Great and Powerful,” which stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff, and opens in theaters March 8. Guests enter The Land of Oz Garden guided by a yellow-brick road and soon find themselves in an interactive children’s play area that features carnival-style games. From here, guests walk past a garden filled with a combination of lush, real flowers and fantastical art-glass poppies. As kids play in and around a giant custom Oz-themed play structure, parents can enjoy shaded, comfy chairs just a few steps away. The Land of Oz Garden will appear for the complete run of the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, through May 19. Walt Disney World Resort horticulturists will keep updating the flowers throughout the festival as the weather warms up in late April, keeping the garden in a constant state of growth and color.

Oz in the News 2.18.13

bildeNevada author keeps great-grandfather’s Oz alive  “(My) biggest challenge has been to not insult Oz fans,” Baum told the Las Vegas Sun. “There’s a certain magnetic feeling connected to the love, heart and courage in the books. I try to keep that theme with no violence.” Baum’s home office pays homage to the world his great-grandfather created. A Yellow Brick Road street sign marks the entrance. Inside are Oz picture frames and Oz figurines; the bookshelf contains every Oz book his great-grandfather wrote. Baum initially refused to write Oz books out of fear that it would be too presumptuous of him. It wasn’t until a friend challenged him during a dinner that he changed his mind.

Oz in the News 2.14.13

la-dd-last-night-at-musso-franks-wizard-of-oz--001Last night at Musso & Frank’s: ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkin Jerry Maren honored  Maren, a longtime Musso & Frank’s customer, just turned 93. He’s the last male survivor of the 124 Munchkins in the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, one of the best-known American movies ever. In his honor, yesterday was proclaimed “Jerry Maren Day” by L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge of Hollywood. “I’ve met presidents, Heisman Trophy winners, Olympians, all great, but Jerry Maren! He’s a pal, and I thought, ‘Let’s do something for Jerry.’

Oz in the News 2.12.13

red-yellow-brick-road‘The Wizard of Oz’ meets ‘Game of Thrones’ in new fantasy drama series  The Hollywood Reporter writes today that Warner Horizon has picked up a new fantasy drama series which will go off the beaten path and explore the mysterious red brick road seen in the 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. It will serve as a continuation of sorts to the story of The Wizard of Oz, but will take the road less traveled, if you will. Red Brick Road will be filled with as much death, violence and political games as you might expect to find in Westeros, not Oz. The series has been created by Rob Prior, and executive producers include Mark Wolper, Roy Lee and Adrian Askarieh, as well as John Middelston and Jeff Krelitz (who both hold the title of co-executive producers).

Cowardly Lion Costume From ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ On Sale  A top film memorabilia collector is selling Burt Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard Of Oz to fund a new museum. James Comisar is calling on Hollywood’s biggest names to consider digging deep for the outfit Lahr wore in the classic 1939 film, which he acquired in 1991 from a salvage dealer who found it in an abandoned MGM building. The seller is hoping to use the cash to help him fund a TV history museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Chesterton’s Wizard of Oz Fest could end without new sponsor  “It is truly a shame that a festival that at one time attracted close to 100,000 people is falling by the way side. Even if the festival attracted a mere 10,000 people I think it would be worthwhile to pursue and who knows what the future may bring. My personal thank you for all the devotion and love you gave us and Oz.”

Oz in the News 2.7.13

WIZ-book-1-thumb-620x365-54358The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Artist Michael Sieben updates the children’s classic with characteristically kooky illustrations  Encouraging one’s imagination to take control, Sieben’s illustrations and hand lettering pepper the more-than-200-page book with cartoonish figures and colorful landscapes that are at once cute and vaguely macabre—a distinct style that seems to compliment Baum’s admittedly dark tale rather well. This balance of slightly dark and playful imagery is only enhanced by Sieben’s choice of colors, resulting in a highly stylized aesthetic that appeals to adults and children alike.

Boom in all things Oz is wizard  Experts are to shine a light on the remarkable longevity of a series of classic children’s stories told over a century ago, at a special event tomorrow.  The event is the latest organised by her company Hic Dragones, which brings together creative writing professionals and academics.  Delivering the keynote lecture at the event is Geoff Ryman, University of Manchester lecturer and author of the best selling Was-  also inspired by Baum’s tales. Gregory McGuire, who wrote the best-selling book on which the hit West End musical is based will be speaking to the gathering via Skype. The musical will be touring the UK for the first time this year. Ryman, who is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Was this year, said: “No-one knew what to do with Baum’s books because they are genuinely child-centred.  “The MGM film is a Quasi religious epic about a trip to the land of the dead.”