What were your reference points for the film? Did you look at the original at all?
I think it’s fair to say we had research from everywhere under the sun–not necessarily about Oz, but about the period, which was turn of the 20th century, 1900 through 1930, let’s say–and we used that as a jumping-off point for everything. But, also, we had influences from the circus. We had certainly the memory of the other film. I, particularly, did not look at it again once I started this because I didn’t want to have it so in the front of my mind and occasionally we would talk about how something might remind you of the original film, but it wasn’t a reference for us in that sense. Also, our director Sam Raimi really wanted it to be a new world, a separate world from the other movies.
So, he wanted to set it apart?
To set it apart, and it was before the other movie, so we have only a few characters that you recognize from the other movies, so there wasn’t any real connection there. In fact, I didn’t know until I went back and read the other books, that there was a China Doll [a character that appears in the Oz the Great and Powerful.]
What was it like working with Michael Kutsche?
He and Sam and I… it was very congenial and Sam is a wonderful director in that he encourages everyone to experiment. He’s very happy to entertain all kinds of new ideas.
Did the actors offer a lot of input into their costumes?
They did and they do, but as far as the outcome and the final product–especially in this case–we wanted the strength of those drawings to come through, so even if we changed something, the silhouette remained. The basic impact of the costume remained the same. Of course, it’s something you wear. You have to have input and you have to have understanding and you have to go out there and work, so it has to be something that we’re all in agreement about. None of them had any big issues, though.
We heard Michelle Williams asked for a new costume at the last minute. Was that challenging to deal with?
It was a challenge and it was exciting and at that point we were very much in tune with what her look was and so we made the armor and used the feathers and accomplished a whole other set of sleeves and all of that stuff. I think it happened overnight. It was no more than 24 hours in total.
Who was the most fun to dress?
This is a joke but I’ll tell you anyway. I love Knuck (a Munchkin, played by Tony Cox). I just think he looks sensational because he’s such a wonderful actor and such a wonderful guy, but all of the leading actors were fun in different ways. One has a sort of a leather S&M type feeling, and one is all iridescent and bubbly and the other one is high drama, so there’s something wonderful about each of them.
Was S&M a reference point for Theodora?
No. That costume is reminiscent of Margaret Hamilton, the original wicked witch– it has all the elements; they just happen to be different, a different take on them.
The characters all have almost no costume changes. Did that have anything to do with making it feel like a traditional animated Disney movie (wherein the characters are cartoons and just wear the same thing always)?
No. In my opinion, it has to do with storytelling. I very much wanted James to be the constant, so his changes are very minimal and they are mostly in wear and tear and then at the end, he has green and a brand new crisp tie, but it mostly had to do with storytelling. There was no reason for changing the clothes. This kept the characters in mind and therefore makes them bigger.
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