Oz the Great and Powerful offers a kid-friendly Mila Kunis
PASADENA—Stop the presses! Mila Kunis just got drive-through takeout at Taco Bell! Several hours earlier, she had a hair appointment!
The media and, oh, maybe the paparazzi can’t seem to get enough of Kunis, the 29-year-old actor with the sexy-scratchy voice, the huge, sultry eyes, and the boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher, who is verified shutterbug catnip himself. Speaking of which—are you sitting down?—this just in from US magazine: “Mila and Ashton Moving in Together!”
On a recent morning at a hotel on a sprawling estate, “Mila”—or, rather, Kunis (first-name-basis really best reserved for friends and favourite coffee-shop baristas)—neither hid behind oversized sunglasses nor appeared to bear any grudges.
“Hi!” she said to a ballroom full of international journalists. She was wearing a gold strapless dress, her dark hair hung in long, glossy waves, and she looked tan and glamorous, as though she’d just jetted in from Capri.
Often swiftly explaining reporters’ questions to her latest costar, James Franco, and producer Joe Roth, she came across like Mensa’s most beautiful member.
She was there, of course, to discuss her new movie, Oz the Great and Powerful (which opens next Friday [March 8]). A prequel to that beloved 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, it’s the story of how Oscar Diggs (Franco), whose nickname happens to be Oz, came to arrive in that land and how he met all those witches, good, wicked, and… It’s complicated. Kunis plays a fetching young witch, Theodora, who falls, hard, for Oz.
Years before her gigs on That ’70s Show (on which she and Kutcher played romantically entangled characters) and Family Guy, Kunis moved with her family from the then–U.S.S.R. to the U.S. Every year, they would watch The Wizard of Oz—always accompanied, curiously, by Poltergeist. “It was, like, a really weird double feature that CBS would put on. I remember this very vividly. I have the fondest sense memories.”
Kunis played a bad ballerina in Black Swan and a good girl interacting with a bad stuffed bear in Ted, but she had never played a witch. “To me,” Kunis said, “it was just a normal girl that happens to fall in love and gets a broken heart and just so happens to be a witch.” After her sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz), gives her that fantasy-tale staple, an apple, Theodora undergoes a transformation. “You’re lucky if you’re given a character that has an arc in any film. This just so happens to be a fantastical, slightly over-the-top arc.”
The arc involved hours of special-effects makeup. The makeup, she decided, helped her to have fun and not worry about what she looked like or what others might think. “Because I was green. With a big nose. And a pointy chin. It was awesome.” US magazine would not approve.
While she was promoting Oz, something dawned on Kunis. “This is the first film that I’ve ever done that kids are allowed to see.” Everyone laughed. “Yeah, laugh, you guys. It’s very sad for me,” she said, sounding not particularly sad. Later, she mused about a film she could proudly show her children and grandchildren. “And I don’t necessarily know if Ted or Black Swan fit that category,” she said drily. Nor, perhaps, another movie she’s rumoured to be up for: the film of that sex-whips-and-handcuffs novel Fifty Shades of Grey.