We can find truth in deception. We find the deeper truth beneath the artifice. Sam Raimi‘s Oz the Great and Powerful makes no secrets of its deception, and shows how deception can be used for good or evil. We just don’t call it deception when it’s used for good. Then it’s an illusion, not a trick.* Oz creates a beautiful illusion that we can get lost in not because of the visual effects wizardry or the size of the canvas, but because of the honesty of the characters and Raimi staying true to his oddball style.
IMAX has made a habit of releasing special midnight screening posters for the year’s biggest blockbusters. For Oz the Great and Powerful, they’ll be releasing a poster that shows off a piece of concept art from Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg (Alice in Wonderland). The film centers on a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics (James Franco) who finds himself transported to Oz and drawn into a battle between the three witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).
Hit the jump to check out the poster, which will be available while supplies last at participating theaters. Also, click on the respective links for Steve’s set visit: 30 things to know about the film plus a video blog, and his interviews with Sam Raimi, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, and Joey King. Oz the Great and Powerful opens March 8th.
Disney has released the first featurette for director Sam Raimi’s Wizard of Oz prequel Oz the Great and Powerful. It’s actually a fairly in-depth look behind the scenes of the film, as we’re treated to interviews with Raimi and many of the cast members including James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Zach Braff. The focus is on how Raimi brought the world of Oz to life with the help of production designer Robert Stromberg and costume designer Gary Jones, and it’s clear that this was an absolutely massive production. Jones and Raimi also provide insight into designing the iconic Wicked Witch, with Raimi noting that he wanted “a big, scary green witch,” instead of taking a more subtle approach to the character.
Hit the jump to watch the featurette. If you missed any of Steve’s set visit coverage, check out 30 things to know about the film plus a video blog, and his interviews with Sam Raimi, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, and Joey King. Oz the Great and Powerful opens in 3D on March 8th.
Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland) is currently filming his directorial debut, Maleficent, but already has his sights set on his next project. Billed as a mash-up of Avatar and Jurassic Park is the large-scale adventure picture, Safari, which is set up at the new production company Hydra. Stromberg recently joined the new banner along with established pre-vis company the Third Floor, Avatar concept artist and production designer Dylan Cole and veteran storyboard/comicbook artist Mark Moretti. For more on what’s in production at this unique alternative to studio development, hit the jump.
Here are some casting tidbits for you to enjoy today:
- Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) is set to topline Long Nights Short Mornings, an erotic indie for director Chadd Harbold (Revenge for Jolly!).
- AMC’s The Killing star, Mireille Enos will join Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, a drama about the West Memphis Three.
- Disney’s Maleficent has crowned Brenton Thwaites (Home and Away) to play the prince in the Robert Stromberg-directed adaptation.
Hit the jump for more on each project.
Director Robert Stromberg just took a major step forward in assembling his cast for Disney’s live-action fantasy Maleficent. Angelina Jolie is already set as the titular lead in this retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale from the villain’s point of view, and we recently learned that District 9 star Sharlto Copley had joined the cast as the male lead. Now it appears that Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Kenneth Cranham (Hot Fuzz), Sam Riley (On the Road), and Lesley Manville (Another Year) have been added to the roster. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: Variety adds that India Eisley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) will play a younger version of Jolie's character in the opening sequence of the film.]
It’s turning out to be a very exciting month for District 9 star Sharlto Copley. He recently landed the villain role in Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake, he’s poised to star in the thriller Open Grave, and now he’s set in a starring role opposite Angelina Jolie in a tentpole Disney release. Deadline reports that Copley is in talks to play the male lead in the Mouse House’s Maleficent. He’ll play the character of King Stefan in the pic, which tells the Sleeping Beauty story from the villain’s point of view.
We heard in March that the very talented Elle Fanning was in talks to star as the do-gooder princess, but this latest report makes no mention of the actress. It’s possible that she’s still in negotiations, or things might have gone south and she’s now out of the project completely. Nevertheless, production is set to begin next month in London under the direction of Robert Stromberg, the production designer of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland who is making his feature directorial debut with the fantasy pic. Maleficent is slated for March 14th, 2014.
We recently reported that Angelina Jolie had settled on Disney’s Maleficent as her next movie, and now it looks like producers have found their protagonist. Jolie has long been attached to play the powerful villain in the pic, and now Twitch reports that Elle Fanning is in talks to Princess Aurora, “the young beauty sent into a lengthy slumber in the classic tale.” Jolie no doubt has a meaty character to dive into, but I think Fanning is an inspired choice for the princess. The actress has come into her own as of late with turns in Cameron Crowe‘s We Bought a Zoo and Francis Ford Coppola‘s Twixt, but I was particularly impressed by her work in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. She has a youthful innocence that goes hand in hand with her emotional maturity, and it’ll be interesting to see her stretch in the fantasy film.
Robert Stromberg is making his feature directorial debut on the project, but his resume as a production designer on films like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful promise that he’s got a vast imagination to bring to the table. Not many plot details are known about the project other than the fact that it tells the Sleeping Beauty story from the villain’s perspective. If Fanning signs on, expect more casting announcements soon.
Update: THR reports that Maleficent will start shooting this June in London.
Apparently it’s Disney’s day to attach directors to their projects. Just after the Mouse House filled the director’s chair on their Matterhorn movie, Deadline reports that Disney has finally settled on Robert Stromberg to helm Maleficent. The revisionist take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale has been gestating for some time now with Angelina Jolie attached to star, but it now looks as though things are finally moving forward. Though Maleficent will act as Stromberg’s feature directorial debut, he’s no stranger to big-budget Hollywood movies. He’s served as production designer on films like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland (he won the Academy Award for Art Direction on both films), and he’s most recently been working on Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful. Hit the jump for more, including how soon production on Maleficent could begin.