Years before she melted into a pile of green sludge, Theodora (Mila Kunis), future Wicked Witch of the West, was a pretty young woman who was falling for a dashing new visitor to Oz (James Franco) with questionable magical powers. For Oz the Great and Powerful star Mila, taking on a classic role in this prequel to The Wizard of Oz is just the latest in a string of screen successes that includes Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Black Swan and Ted. Mila, 29, who just moved in with boyfriend Ashton Kutcher, talks about her bewitching experience.
You were in Date Night with James Franco. What was it like teaming up again?
We hate it. That’s why we continue to do it over and over again!
How do you update the Wicked Witch character without losing what people loved most about her?
It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t incredibly frightening, because it is. [Margaret Hamilton] created such an iconic character, going on 80 years now. What she did will forever be, in my mind, the greatest witch of all time. This is a love letter to her.
Did you go back and watch the original movie?
I didn’t rewatch The Wizard of Oz because there’s no way of doing it justice. So this is the 21st-century version. She’s not hunched over so much. I didn’t want to ruin such an iconic character and I didn’t want to re-create it, so in order for me to wrap my head around it I needed to make sense of her origin.
What did you decide that was?
I honestly viewed her as a normal girl who gets her heart broken — and just happens to be a witch. She doesn’t have the tools to deal with heartache and goes through an emotional transformation that’s mirrored by a physical one. And she changes color!
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