HOLLYWOOD - At the world premiere of Oz: The Great and Powerful at El Capitan theater on Wednesday night, there was no red carpet in sight, because, because, because, because, because ... a yellow brick road took care of that.
"I've never been to anything like this in my life. Nothing this scale," said Zach Braff, hopping off the yellow path to talk to press. He plays two roles in Oz (out March 8), and seemed awed by the blockbuster-sized premiere. "This is awesome."
It was a quite a spectacle. Just before walking the red carpet, James Franco, who plays the young wizard (a small-time circus magician named Oscar Diggs) in the film, was sent up in a gigantic Oz-emblazoned hot air balloon over Hollywood Boulevard. "That was not my idea," he admitted to USA TODAY. "It felt like an old Hollywood stunt or something." What was he thinking up there in the balloon? "I was like, did Clark Gable do this?" he joked.
The film predates the original Wizard of Oz, and includes the backstory of its witches: Glinda (Michelle Williams), Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz). "It's before the Wizard of Oz film that everyone knows about," said Weisz. "It's kind of the origins story. There's a prophesy (in Oz) that says the wizard will come one day, and he does in the shape of James Franco."
Braff added that the goal was not to try to "remake the most watched movie of all time. But these characters are so cool and this world is so cool. What are they like when they're younger? It's kind of a way to go back to this awesome world."
While loads of attendees took a cue from Disney's invite and dressed in green, the film's stars veered away from the emerald hue.
"I didn't want to wear green because I wanted to look different from my character in the film. I just chose a dress I thought was pretty," said Weisz, who wore a bold red body-skimming Victoria Beckham gown. Mila Kunis handled the red carpet quickly in a cream Dolce & Gabbana dress, while Michelle Williams opted for a flower-embellished Prada gown with a slit cut up to the hip (and black briefs underneath). "I guess it looks kind of like what a good witch would wear, but it just kind of was my favorite dress," said Williams.
What drew her to Oz? " I have very fond memories of it as a child," said Williams. Plus, "I wanted to make a movie that my daughter could see."
Franco was still wowed at the film's impressive array of 3-D effects. "It's pretty amazing," he said of the world director Sam Raimi created. Did he take a piece of it home with him? "Oh yeah, I took a lot of things," he said, grinning. "I have some bricks from the yellow brick road. And my character's wardrobe. Actually, there's a lot. I've got so many things they don't fit in my house."
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)