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!

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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.