The Deliciously Evil Evanora – an Interview With Rachel Weisz #DisneyOzEvent
Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America
Rachel Weisz was our first interview of the day and we had no idea what to expect. She breezed into the conference room while we were nervously and anxiously waiting, practically floating on sky-high black Christian Louboutin’s with the signature red soles and a black and white cap sleeved dress with a swing skirt (I believe it was Kate Spade). She was the epitome of a “proper British woman” – elegant, graceful, and so exquisitely beautiful you would have a hard time believing she was actually real. She glided. She was a bit more of a relaxed version of what I saw two days prior at the premiere, where she wore a tomato red floor-length Victoria Beckham gown and slicked hair, yet still exuded glamour, poise, and charm.
“Hello! Oh, my Lord!” Rachel beamed. I think she was surprised that there were so many of us – 25 mommy bloggers waiting to get their ears bent by the Oscar winner about her Oz experience.“So, we’re gonna change the world together? [LAUGHS] I feel like that!” as she sat down with her coffee cup in hand, which I suspect may have been an English tea 🙂
So, you were so deliciously evil. What did you like slipping into more, the costumes or the character?
Rachel: You know what? It’s weird. They were kind of like the same. When I put that costume on I became that character. I couldn’t have played her without that corset, and sequins, and feathers, and lashes, and lips, and pushed up boobs [LAUGHS], and, you know, the whole thing. Yeah, the costume was huge, huge part of the character, and it was very fun to be so nasty. [CHUCKLES]
Because you were so nasty, how did you feel about, knowing this is a children’s film and yet you’ve gotta be pretty evil out there.
Rachel: Well, I think fairytales traditionally have really, really evil characters. Like all the Grimm’s fairytales have bad people in them, so I think kids are used to evil characters. And I think she’s dark, but she’s having a lot of fun being bad. So, I think it’s like, I think it’s like Disney bad. I don’t think it’s really, really bad.
What was your most memorable moment while filming?
Rachel: Well, Evanora really enjoyed torturing Glinda, when she was chained her in the Emerald City -it was just really fun. I mean I get along brilliantly [with actress Michelle Williams]. Michelle she’s a fellow mom, and she’s a lovely lady, but that was just a really fun scene being that bad. And then just pure fun without being evil was, flying. Flying is really fun – a little scary and quite exciting, like having a really good rollercoaster ride.
Speaking of flying, how much flying and stunt work did you actually do?
Rachel: All of it. I didn’t think there was any flying that isn’t me. They didn’t to a [CGI] head replacement or anything. Yeah, it’s me all the way.
What helped you prepare the most for your role in the film?
Rachel: Really there was nothing that could help me prepare. Obviously, there’s no witches I could interview or talk to, and it’s just pure fantasy. So, the costume, as I said, was a huge part of finding the character, and it’s just, just pure make believe. There was absolutely no research, just make believe, just like being a kid basically.
I have a lot of readers asking about age appropriateness for the movie. And I’m saying around eight or so, but as, as a mom, yourself, what age would you think is appropriate to take your children?
Rachel: Oh, I don’t know. I mean – every kid is different, and I think every mom knows their kid. I mean some kids are really, really sensitive, but I don’t think there’s any too scary for little kids. I’d probably say — I’d probably go a bit younger than eight, but then I think it’s up to a mom to decide.
Did you feel nervous at all accepting this role with the Oz legacy?
Rachel: I’m nervous at any role that I do [CHUCKLES], because, you know, there’s the fear that you might, you know, [stink].[LAUGHS] I wouldn’t really do a role unless I wasn’t nervous about it, because that’s what’s exciting is trying something new, and I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve never played a fantasy character. Of late I’ve been doing very kind of gritty, earth-bounds – gals with no makeup, and, you know, very different kinds of things. So, for me it was scary, because it’s a new thing, but that was a plus for me.
What was your reaction to the film the very first time you read the script?
Rachel: I loved it. I loved it. I didn’t know about that Frank L. Baum had written ten books, and the Wizard of Oz film is just one-tenth of the whole cycle of stories, and I loved it. We all know the Wizard of Oz so well, and this is the story of how the Wizard came to be the Wizard. So, I loved it, and I loved the character of Evanora, and I loved how, how mercilessly horrible she is [LAUGHS].
What’s your personal relationship with Oz – did you watch it as a kid?
Rachel: I remember going to the cinema to see it when I was about five, and I, and I vividly remember the seat, you know, in front of me and trying to see over and hiding. I mean witches really terrified me. They seared into my mind as properly terrifying. I can’t remember the reason that fairytales, like Grimm’s fairytales are really, really dark. I mean I think it’s to teach children about good and evil and morality, and I think there’s a reason why there’s been for hundreds of years the tradition of children seeing scary things. I don’t think it’s damaging, fairytales. I think they’re kind of like important, archetypal stories, but, I remember vividly seeing it. And it’s one of those movies you never, you never forget.
Which character was your favorite besides Evanora?
Rachel: It’s really hard for me to pick… I just think it’s like the whole big, you know, big family of characters. I thought Theodora was just delicious, and, um, the Wizard is great. I guess the most surprising for me was the China Girl and the Monkey, because I never got to, to work with them, and, of course, [they were] animated so, that was really, very surprising, and they’re really delightful characters.
How was working with the rest of the cast?
Rachel: Really great. I mean I did most of my scenes with Mila, a few scenes with James, and then a few scenes with Glinda, – and then, of course, with my monkeys, [LAUGHS], my army of monkeys, and that, that was really fun, the army of monkeys. So, I really got scream orders at them. They’re my soldiers. Um, yeah, it was, it was, it was — really fun. It was really fun with all of them, yeah.
The sets, the sets were amazing. Along with the costumes, did sets help form your character, and did you fall into that world when you were in those amazing places?
Rachel: Yeah, definitely. I was really not on that many sets. I was in the throne room, my character really loves the throne a lot, so she love– I love being there, ’cause she, you know, she wants that throne by herself. She wants to sit in it. So, it made me feel like I was the queenof this throne room. I wasn’t on all the sets with all the incredible flowers and stuff like that. Basically my character was just interested in the throne. So [LAUGHS], that’s what I remember. Yeah, she wanted the throne.
As she thanked us for the interview, it all hit me. WE were in the same room with Hollywood royalty. As I write this post – on the heels of the 2013 Academy Awards – I am again taken aback that this talent saw the importance of our role as bloggers (and moms) and was gracious enough to allow us into her world.
Oz: The Great and Powerful opens nationwide March 8th! Follow #Disneyozevent on Twitter for up to the minute news on all things Oz!
Disney provided me with an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the red carpet premiere of Oz: the Great and Powerful and to attend a Wreck-It Ralph press day at Disney Animation studios. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.