Interview: Director Sam Raimi – Oz The Great and Powerful #disneyoz #disneyozevent

by Carrie with Children with 6 comments

There’s no better person to talk about a film than the director himself.  With a rich history of horror films under his  belt, Oz The Great and Powerful is a step in a different direction for Director Sam Raimi.

During my trip to California for the premiere of the film, myself and 25 other bloggers had the opportunity to chat with him – he was very open about the process of making the film and the incredible Oz legacy.

Oz The Great and Powerful Director Sam Raimi

credit: Disney

The Oz Legacy

I had a great sense of responsibility not to tread upon the good name and the beloved classic, “The Wizard of Oz”.  That was my biggest fear.  And it was a heavy responsibility.  In fact, I didn’t even 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.  And then a couple weeks later I was looking for a writer.  And somebody said, “Read this.  It’s a writing sample.”

So under that auspices I read the script.  And I thought, “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.” 

Director Sam Raimi on set of Oz The Great and Powerful with James Franco

image credit – Disney

On The Role of Oz

I wasn’t thinking about James.  I had a long relationship with James and I really liked him very much.  But I was thinking Johnny Depp would play the part or one or two other actors.  And it didn’t work out for them.  And then I heard that James was interested.  So I thought, “I never considered James.  But he has the qualities,” as I sat myself down and thought about it, what I needed.  And that was good and bad qualities.

So James as a young man I had seen him be a little selfish.  And a little into himself.  And he had those failings.  And then through the years as I worked with him I saw a generous spirit emerge working with the other actors.

I saw kindness, a consciousness form because I knew him when he was like 21. I saw these good qualities emerge until he became a friend of mine, not just an actor and a director.  And I thought, “Because I’ve seen this in his real life, he’s a good enough actor.  I think we can make this work on screen.”  That’s really what it was.  And that’s what casting’s about for me.  Finding the essence of the character in a person.

Director Sam Raimi on set of Oz The Great and Powerful

image credit – Disney

Oz The Character

This was the story of a real heel.  A cad.  A two-timer.  He’s not a good friend.  He’s a very selfish individual.  Yet he wants to be great.  He wants to be something more.  He just doesn’t know how.  He doesn’t know what true greatness is.  And through the love of this little girl who looks at him like a father and through a flying monkey who like a good friend demands he do the right thing. 

And wanting to become worthy of Glinda’s love, he grows as an individual and finds a little bit of selflessness in himself.  In doing so he becomes the great thing he always thought he could be.  Never expecting that that was the route to become this great wizard.

On Filming in Michigan

I wanted the job to stay in either the United States or Michigan,  specifically where I’m from. 

It was great. Disney let me bring the movie to Michigan and we were able to keep the money in the states and employ a lot of Michiganders.  Thy were great actors and they were really such a hard working crew.  Everybody in Hollywood was super surprised how talented and how deep the technical skills were of the Michigan artists and technicians.  And it was a real eye opener for a lot of guys working on the movie – how great those Michiganders were. I loved going home.

Oz The Great and Powerful Sam Raimi at Premiere

Credit – Disney

For the Latest News on Oz The Great and Powerful

Be sure and “Like”  OZ THE GREAT & POWERFUL on Facebook and follow along on Twitter at @DisneyOzMovie.

Also, for the latest news, check out

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL lands in theaters on March 8th!

** Walt Disney Pictures invited me on this all-expenses paid trip as their guest . Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own and not influenced by others. **


  • Jackie

    What!?!? this was filmed right here in Michigan! I didn’t know that…. it’s awesome though!

  • Kasandria Reasoner

    That was such a great day! Loved interviewing him. Your write up is great!

  • Becca

    I think I have to see this movie!! It looks amazing 🙂

  • Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired

    What great insight into the movie! I’m really excited to see this, it looks amazing. I love that it was filmed in Michigan, that’s where I grew up. It makes it even more fun!

  • Megan @mnmspecial

    I think this sounds like a fun family film.I have always enjoyed the oz stories.

  • cori

    how cool that you got to interview and meet him!!! That film looks awesome, can’t wait for it to come out!