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The man behind Oz costume design


Oz the Great and Powerful is this year's epic fantasy film, starring an all-star cast of James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz and directed by Sam Raimi. Here, we speak to the man behind the movie's elaborate fashion, costume designer Gary Jones.

Photos: Rex Features

2. Did you draw ideas from the original 1939 film and the 1901 book by L. Frank Baum?

The designs for the costumes in Oz The Great and Powerful are mainly character-driven. We were familiar with the land, but only knew two of the characters from the previous movie. The ideas came more from the characters in the books.

2. Whose costume took the longest to design and why?

That would be Glinda (played by Michelle Williams). And the reason is that she had to do more, she had more changes, and she is the one we had seen in the first movie.

3. What was it like working with the three witches – aka Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis?

It was amazing and wonderful working with each of these beautiful and talented actresses.

4. And the guys, how were they?

The men were as invested and collaborative as the women were in their costumes. James Franco and later Zack Braff embraced the period suits, shirts and ties, and hats as though they had worn them all their lives.

5. Whose costume were you most proud of, when it came to the end result?

James Franco’s (who played Oz).

6. What was the general feeling you wanted to translate via the costumes?

We wanted to take a fresh look at new characters in a familiar world.

7. What about the logistics of working on Oz, how many people did it involve on wardrobe and what kind of hours did you work?

Our manufacturing crew fluctuated from 20 to as many as 50 at times, both in Los Angeles and Detroit. It included dressmakers, tailors, shoemakers, beaders and embroiderers, milliners, painters, screen-printers, crafters, shirt-makers, and dyers. Mostly we were on 10 hour prep and 12 hour shoot schedules. There are always unavoidable delivery dates that required more.

8. How do you cope with unexpected costume crises – there must be loads on a film like this?

The crises are a given, and with more characters come even more. But I had the most experienced, skilled, talented, and calm crew I have ever known. They faced even our overnight challenges with grace and style.

9. Were there any particular colours or materials you relied on in particular?

We used or tried everything imaginable. It is, after all, the Emerald City.

10. How did you and Sam Raimi work together to realise your vision?

I had worked for Sam on Spider-Man 2, so we already knew we could communicate.

Sam is incredibly inclusive and collaborative. He was able to convey his vision and his needs for each costume. He saw all of the costumes a number of times during the process, and some he saw many times. And always with an eye for improvement.

Oz the Great and Powerful is out now



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