I have no idea what I'm going to do with this Mila Kunis doll they gave me for Oz the Great and Powerful. If anything, I was just bummed that I couldn't get a Barbie of Rachel Weisz's character, Evanora, who rules The Emerald City of Oz until a wizard comes along to fulfill the prophecy and save the land from an evil witch who, it turns out - we'd say SPOILERS but the story is a hundred years old and the marketing isn't even being coy about it - is Weisz herself. There are other twists and turns - all ruined by IMDb - but over the course of my interview with Weisz we do discuss the very ending of the film, and where it leaves her character (or doesn't) for future sequels. I'll warn you when that part's coming up, but there's a very MILD SPOILER warning until then. Now, here's Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz, talking about lightning hands, dolls and working with director Sam Raimi.
Oz the Great and Powerful lands in theaters on March 8 (USA),
CraveOnline: I got your sister here [in doll form]…
Rachel Weisz: Let me see. I haven’t seen them all yet.
She’s got a very dapper hat.
That’s so wild.
Have you seen yours?
I did see mine. Yesterday a journalist brought one in.
You didn’t get approval over that or anything, to make sure it captured your good side?
They showed pictures. I guess it’s 3D, so you can see all sides, so I didn’t get to pick a side. [Laughs]
Is this the first time you’ve had an action figure based on you?
Yes. Yes, sir. It is.
You didn’t have one for The Mummy?
I don’t think I had a doll for The Mummy, no. They never showed me one, if I did. Yeah.
You’ve had this really interesting career of going from big, big movies to… I don’t want to say “smaller…”
Very, very small. Low budget.
Sometimes very, very small, low budget, but I was going to say very serious movies. Message movies, even. Is that a major shift, or is it all just making a movie at some point?
I mean… My personal prevailing taste would probably be indie drama, because I guess there’s more interesting roles for women, but then you look at this movie and there are three very interesting roles for women. Not just powerful women, but women with powers. [Laughs] With superpowers. Yeah, I really wanted to work with Sam, and I really thought it would be fun to do something fantasy-based. I’ve never done anything not set on planet Earth before.
Were you always against a green screen, or did they build the sets?
There were some practical sets. My throne room – I say “my” throne room, it’s not my throne is it? But she wants the throne, Evanora – was built, and that was very impressive, with a big staircase. Have you seen it?
Yeah, it’s gorgeous.
When my character first walks down [into] that throne room, and yeah, there were a bunch of practical sets, and green screen ones too.
Did that make it easier or harder? A lot of your scenes are with Mila Kunis, and there are big emotions being played, were you able to stay in that moment with the visual effect being a concern? How did that work?
I just mainly talk to Mila, apart from when she’s transforming green. That was just I had to imagine it. Sam talked me through it. He gives you a running commentary. So he makes the visual effects really easy to see, because he paints a picture for you. “Okay, now she’s getting bigger, and her nose is getting bigger…!” He’s a storyteller so he can make things come to life.
Sam has a bit of a reputation for being rough on his actors, sometimes even physically. I don’t know if you saw the making Spider-Man 2, there’s a lot of footage of him whalloping Tobey Maguire with a handbag. Was he kind to you? Was he good?
He was very kind. Very gentlemanly.
Did he wear a suit the whole time on set?
That’s his schtick. What’s a Sam Raimi set like, compared to some of the others you’ve been on?
His sets are very tension-free. Very, very. He made me laugh like a drain. He’s very funny. Very chivalrous, very gentlemanly. I felt like I was in a black and white movie, most of the time. He’s like a sort of fairy tale person. Very kind and, even though he must have been under immense pressure, he just always had time to joke and try things out. He’s fascinated by technical wizardry, but he’s also really fascinated by acting, and I think he tunes into all his actors or to his characters’ points of view, and yeah… He’s very human.