With a stellar cast, mind-blowing 3D and Hollywood heartthrob James Franco as the male lead, it’s no surprise Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful is storming the box office in the UK and US. But did you know that the glossy haired Blake Lively was considered for the role of Glinda? But it was Michelle Williams who bagged the role alongside Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. Here are five other fun facts you may not have known about Oz The Great and Powerful...
1. James Franco, who plays Oscar Diggs (aka Oz), had to learn magic tricks in order to accurately portray his small-time, circus magician character. He came to set two weeks early so he could work with Las Vegas magician Lance Burton. Working every day, Franco learned tricks involving doves and fire as well as how to pull objects out of hats and how to make things levitate.
2. There are over 3,000 props used in Oz The Great and Powerful, with 1400 of them manufactured specifically for the film. These do not include the 5000 coins Prop master Russell Bobbitt had made especially to fill Oz’s treasure chest. One side of the coin is stamped with an image of the Yellow Brick Road and on the other side there is an image of author L. Frank Baum.
3. Costume designer Gary Jones and his team embarked on an ambitious project to clothe over 1500 actors, from the smallest Munchkin to the tallest Winkie, over a 23-week period. For the principal characters alone—Oz, Theodora, Glinda and Evanora—there were well over 200 pieces.
4. The Land of Oz would not be complete without Munchkins, so the production’s extras casting directors found three-dozen little people, mostly from the Detroit area. Their average 3’6” height contrasted sharply with the four-dozen Winkies, the spear-toting palace guards, none of whom were under 6’6” with some even exceeding seven-feet tall.
5. James Franco has only one costume in the film—the three-piece suit that Oz is wearing when he is hurled away from Kansas. But veteran costume designer Gary Jones carefully researched the era from 1880-1930 to design the perfect suit. He then met with Franco in New York City to show him vintage photos from the turn-of-the-century that ultimately inspired his final design—a black cutaway suit.
Oz The Great and Powerful is in cinemas now