The new Sam Raimi film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) had $150 million in opening weekend ticket sales around the world. The visual spectacle was the work of many, many artists. One artist that helped create the visuals for Oz is professional concept artist, and set designer, Dawn Brown Manser who's worked on big budget films like Star Trek, Watchmen and Alice in Wonderland. She shared some illustrations on her website and agreed to answer a few questions about working on the film.
Interestingly enough, she's the first concept artist nice enough to do an interview my blog! I'm always happy to have her back.
Find out what it was like working on this film after Alice, why the set was 2000 miles away and see the rest of the pictures after the jump.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview Dawn. How did you get involved in the production?
Most of this art department worked together on Alice in Wonderland. I was one of the first people brought on by production designer Robert Stromberg and supervising art director Stefan Dechant, also from Alice. It was nice that we already had a system in place how Robert likes to work.
Q: How much of the original source material (ex. Book or Wizard of Oz) were used in the designs?
It was very important to develop a look for the film that stands on its own.
Q: What was your favorite illustration?
I had two favorites, first was the treasure room. If for no other reason than the set was such a grand spectacle.
My other favorite was the crystal ball stand, it was challenging to find the right look for such an iconic prop. I ended up developing 30 options, (yipes!) and the director picked my favorite. (yeah!)
Q: Did you have any challenges on Oz the Great and Powerful and, if so, how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges was that we were developing the film in Los Angeles, but the sets were being built in Pontiac, Michigan. I think we lost the opportunity to learn from what goes right and what goes wrong when you're 2000 miles away from the construction crew. The disconnect can be frustrating, but that seems to be the way things are done now. You either adapt to it or you stop working!
Q: How did this production compare with the similarly childhood story themed Alice in Wonderland?
As I mentioned before, this was most of the same art department crew from Alice, so we had a certain way of working already established. I really like everyone on the crew, we've all worked together many times before on other things. These guys are some of the most talented designers and artists in the film industry and I was humbled and inspired every single day.
Q: Thanks for the insights Dawn! Where will we see your work next? Are you working on any more short films?
My next projects are Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Ender's Game. Both will be released this fall, not sure which will come out first. [Editors Note: Ender's Game comes out November 1, 2013 and Hunger Games 2 opens November 22nd] For Hunger Games, I worked on the sets, and for Ender's Game I worked on the costumes. Both were really fun projects and I'm looking forward to seeing how they look on the big screen. Last fall, I made a stop-motion short film called "House of Monsters" and it is currently on the film festival circuit! Hooray! Hope to get going on another one soon.
Watch the hilarious "House of Monsters" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPxRLtrofE4
More Oz concept art here: http://www.dawnbrown.net/
See more of Dawn Brown's illustrations and set designs at dawnbrown.net and read my other interview with Dawn Brown here.
@ Copyright YEAR STUDIO, ARTIST
Official Site: disney.go.com/thewizard