Set Visit: Enter the mythical land of Sam Raimi's 'Oz the Great and Powerful'
Take a peek behind the curtain with stars James Franco and Michelle Williams
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“It was a terrible thing to undergo, but during the year I stood there I had time to think that the greatest loss I had known was the loss of my heart. While I was in love I was the happiest man on earth; but no one can love who has not a heart, and so I am resolved to ask Oz to give me one." - Tin Woodman, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
In a holding area adjacent to the set of Glinda's castle, a female crew member wearing a headset is screaming at a large group of munchkins. If she has told them once she has told them a thousand times, they are talking at too high a volume and their voices are liable carry onto the stage while the cameras are rolling. Her head looks on the verge of exploding.
I suppose it's difficult to blame her. Despite the calming, quiet presence of on-set general Sam Raimi, the soundstage becomes a veritable pressure cooker whenever K.C. Hodenfield, the film's first assistant-director (a job that can easily be compared to that of a drill sergeant) reaches his breaking point.
"This freaks me out. I need more people on that side!" he yells, indicating a nearby green-and-gold-trimmed trolley car. Costumed extras-slash-cattle scurry to obey.
It's all pretty surreal. Background players both large and little - men with handlebar mustaches and colorful straw hats and bow ties, women with heart-shaped braids and puffy dresses and corsets - mill about a large courtyard located in the shadow of the cream-colored stone edifice of Glinda's beautifully-designed base of operations. A sweeping grand staircase leading up to the palace is topped by a long balcony, and beyond that a set of ornate double doors of some magnitude stand like sentinels. Climbing up the stone walls of the courtyard all around are curling green vines dotted with purple flowers; on the ground level, bushes trimmed into perfect spheres are placed carefully about the grounds. Over it all, a faintly amber light creates the impression of an enormous hearth.
As the cameras roll, Glinda emerges onto the balcony surrounded by costumed young children and elegantly descends the staircase, one little hand clasped in each of hers. She wears a slim white-and-silver dress and a delicate tiara atop a long blonde wig. Partway down, a stern older woman in costume announces it's time for the children to head off to school.
"Awwww!" they cry in unison. As the schoolmarm ushers them along, one young girl remains behind just long enough for Glinda to lean down and bestow a gentle peck on her cheek.
At that very moment, Oscar - clad in a black top hat and tails - approaches and offers up his arm to the angelic young witch. They descend the rest of the way down the stairs together before pausing at the bottom for a round of lighthearted flirtation. At a certain point, Glinda takes her wand and with one smooth motion touches the top of Oscar's head with it. And then...they kiss. A Disney kiss. Warm. Gentle.
Only feet away from the young couple, a yellow brick road spirals out and out in the center of the courtyard before unfurling into a straight line. It ends at a black wall.