Spoiler alert: Who is the Wicked Witch?
05:00 AM, Mar 19, 2013
After another blockbuster weekend at the box office, the secret’s out as to who our new Wicked Witch of the West is. (Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know, read no further.)
It’s Mila Kunis, my pretty.
“I never want to play a damsel in distress,” said Kunis, who steps onto an iconic broom in Disney’s 3-D blockbuster Oz the Great and Powerful, which has spellbound audiences and pulled in more than $145 million at the box office.
But no one said it would be easy to go green. Especially when the job requires treading on ground made sacred by actress Margaret Hamilton in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz.
“The only way that I was ever going to be able to do this and not feel horrible was if I didn’t look at it like an iconic character, of which she is,” Kunis told USA TODAY during a visit to the Detroit set. “For me, it was truly just about playing a girl who more or less gets betrayed by a man and is so hurt by it. It’s all about revenge.”
Veteran makeup artist Howard Berger, who last transformed Anthony Hopkins into a legend in Hitchcock (and previously worked with director Sam Raimi on the Spider-Man trilogy), created a new look for the cackling witch. As it happens, turning the Hollywood beauty into Oz’s biggest threat was no easy task.
“There’s no one more beautiful,” said Berger, calling the star’s makeup transformation “gigantic.” And carefully rendered: Berger concocted an original shade of green for her, as Disney retains rights to author L. Frank Baum’s 14 Oz novels, but not the film. Ultimately, five witchy shades of green were blended together to form the new hue.
The star says the disguise helped tap into her inner witch. “It visually does help you when you feel so foreign in your own body,” she said. “You do have all these prosthetics on, you can’t really feel your face. You have contact lenses in, you can barely see. You’re in these corsets where you can barely move, and it changes your demeanor. It changes the way you walk, it changes the way you feel about yourself.”
That being said, “after the 10-hour mark, you start getting really itchy,” Kunis admitted. “It’s not great. You sweat underneath the prosthetics. It’s not attractive at all.”
But Kunis and the Wicked Witch parted on good terms. On set, Kunis planned to bring her face home as a keepsake. “Every time they yell ‘wrap!’ I pull my nose off,” she laughed.