The Witches of Oz 3D is an upcoming movie and potential TV series based on the famous books by L. Frank Baum and loaded with geek-friendly actors: Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Christopher Lloyd as a steampunk Wizard of Oz.
It also stars Barry Ratcliffe, an actor whose career I’ve covered as a newspaper reporter since his days as a police officer on Nash Bridges.
Here’s my interview with Ratcliffe, who plays a character named Bryan who has suspiciously long teeth:
Q: You’re playing the Cowardly Lion? I saw you roaring in the trailer and you didn’t look Cowardly at all! And you were at least part-human. What’s your character up to?
A: Well, I am not even supposed to tell you I am the Lion, it is the worst kept secret on the film, because, well, Bryan rhymes with Lyon. As far as what I am up to, I start out very cowardly, just a goofy lovable lawyer — if there is such a thing, ha, ha. And I turn as the characters start to appear, as Dorothy needs us.
Q: Geeks are always worried about a story’s faithfulness to the book. What’s the story here and how well does it jive with the book?
A: It goes very well with the book and sets up the complete telling of all 14 books.
Q: How does it fit with the Judy Garland movie?
A: I can’t tell you much here because of our non-disclosure agreements, but I will tell you, it has it all for the family, and it is very, very good. You will recognize plot points and characters, but the story is more original than a remake, paying homage to the original story as well.
Q: I think a lot of geeks — and a lot of other folks — will be interested as soon as they hear the words: “Christopher Lloyd as the Wizard of Oz.” Is that going to be as awesome as it sounds?
A: It is going to be more awesome. I sent him a note, letting him know the fans where excited, and about our interview. He is an incredible actor as you know, and he brings every bit of passion, zaniness, fun, and quirkiness to the role you would expect. Are any of those words?
Q: What’s it like working on a movie that’s so SFX-rich?
A: It was more fun than you could ever know, me flying around attached to cables on a green screen, a “once in a lifetime” role!!!!!! You get used to acting without the background because the actors are so incredible. Billy Boyd — “Pippen” from Lord of the Rings — was an unbelievable comedic partner and one of the funniest actors I have ever worked with.
Q: It looks like this one kept the make-up department busy, too. What’s it like having fangs?
A: So many stories about the fangs. I had them made in LA, then they broke on set and we had 10 other pair made. Let’s just say they were fun, but as you can tell, I like to eat. I would recommend them for a diet plan because I could only open cans with them, not so good for chewing.
Q: I’m assuming this movie is kid-friendly?
A: Yes, but those monkeys are still scary. Don’t worry, I protect everyone from them!