I have two VERY favorite characters in Oz the Great and Powerful. One is Finley, the flying monkey and the other is the not so delicate China Girl, played by Joey King. The choice of actress to play this sweet doll who’s VERY strong at the core was a smart one. After sitting down with Miss King, I realized that Sam Raimi dug BEYOND just a character’s voice to a girl who like the part she plays, looks fragile and sweet but is extremely smart and savvy.
QUESTION : How did you get involved with the project?
JOEY KING : I auditioned for it, and I really loved it. It was so exciting for me, and magical, ‘cause I’m a huge fan of the original movie, and when I went to the screen test, I got to meet Sam there. It was just amazing.
QUESTION : Were any of the actresses like your mom on set?
JOEY KING : Michelle Williams is more like my mom. Mila is more like my sister. Michelle was really funny because she has a daughter Matilda, and she wanted to know things, like, what age I got my phone at, how old am I to wear heels? S,o she was asking me a bunch of things. One time when she asked me, how, how old were you when you got your phone? ‘Cause I don’t want to give Matilda a phone too early or too late. And I was like, I got my phone at 10-years-old. She goes, ten, really? That’s early! I’m just like, no it’s not! So she wanted to ask me a few things, and she was more like a mom figure to me.
QUESTION : Do you have a China Girl doll yet?
JOEY KING : I’m working on getting it. I’m almost there. I really want one because she’s so cute, and I think it’d be really fun to show my family.
QUESTION : What did you think of your finished character when you saw the movie for the first time?
JOEY KING : When I saw the movie at the premier, that was the first time It was really exciting for me, because I got to play two characters. I played, a little girl in a wheel chair in Kansas, and then I played China Girl in the Land of Oz. It was really cool to see how everything came together. It was really, it was like I was watching myself kind of, but in an animated character.
QUESTION : Do you feel like it was easy getting into the character?
JOEY KING : I think that it was. I’ve done parts before where, it’s very difficult to get into that mode, and you have to be very different than yourself. I am always up for a challenge, and I love those kind of things, but this one was a little bit more close to my personality. She’s very sassy, and she had a lot of personality. She’s very energetic, and she’s a little, not that I’m saying I am, but she’s just a little bit manipulative. I pull pranks on my sister, so I can’t say that I’m not.
QUESTION : How old were you when you watched the original Wizard of Oz?
JOEY KING : That’s a really good question. I’m not really sure. It was a while ago because I’ve watched it so many times, over and over and over again. It’s one of my favorite movies. I grew up with it…
QUESTION : Did you get to hang out with the puppet much?
JOEY KING : I got to be on set a lot, which was really cool. What they did was they filmed my face in the booth, but Zach and I got to go on set a lot. The puppeteer, Philip Hover was amazing. She had so many strings on her, and he knew what every one worked, and it was so cool to watch. There was a string where she could blink, and where she could move her arms, and…I got to hang out with her a lot. It was almost like she was a real person. I forgot that she was just a puppet. That was really exciting and neat.
QUESTION : Can you tell us about the swear jar?
JOEY KING : Yeah! I did the swear jar on Oz, the Great and Powerful. But you know what? My mom was the one who put the most money in it. Which was funny because she swears more than the cast and crew. It’s kind of funny when they swear, but I this is a good way. ‘Cause, you know, I didn’t keep the money. I donated tto Meals on Wheels, which is a charity that my grandma volunteers for, and I go and deliver with her a lot. It’s where you deliver meals to elderly people who can’t get out of their home. I got to do that for, for them, and so doing the swear jar was kind of a funny thing, in a way, but also it was a really, it was actually a really nice thing.
QUESTION : So you started the swear jar?
JOEY KING : My teacher Eva, she was my teacher on Oz, the Great and Powerful. We decided let’s do this. This is gonna raise money for the Meals on Wheels, and she bought me a piggy bank, and I painted it, and it was a chalk board, Her name’s swearetta or something. The, the first assistant director, Casey, he put a down payment of 20 dollars so he can, he could swear, he could swear 20 times, and he wouldn’t have to pay. So it was a really, it was a really funny thing.
QUESTION : What was your favorite scene in the movie?
JOEY KING : There’s so many good ones with Finley, trying to go on Oz, and Michelle, but one of my favorite scenes is when I’m convincing Oz to let me go with him, and Finley on their journey to go hunt the Wicked Witch. That scene is my favorite because you get to see this side of China Girl where she’s the kind of that manipulative little girl. She wants to go on this adventure. She’s a very adventurous little girl, and she’s an orphan, because her parents had passed away. So, it was a funny scene, and I loved seeing how it all played off.
QUESTION : When you were not doing your voices, would you run around on set and explore?
JOEY KING : Yeah, when I wasn’t doing school, I was usually roaming around. The sets were the most amazing thing for me to see, ‘cause they were just, they were so big, and detailed, and so I just walk on them, and it’s like, whoa! This is real! This is real life! It was really cool for me because I loved the original movie, and the sets were very similar, but more detailed.
There was also a big studio that I would roam around, and I’d run to the wardrobe department, and the hair department, and say, hey guys! Especially the wardrobe department. I was, like, hey guys, can I just take a look at the costumes and just, look at them?All the costumes were crazy! The Wicked Witch was really cool.
QUESTION : What was your favorite character other than your own?
JOEY KING : Definitely Finley. Finley was so cute! In the movie he’s so funny. I think that it’s kind of cool because Finley and China kinda bring a certain humor and light to it, and it really, like, lightens the movie up, and I love that. Finley is definitely, hands down my favorite character because he’s so funny. I was laughing so hard, and Zach was sitting behind me at the premier, and we were laughing together. , I like those two characters, Finley and China Girl, but Finley’s my favorite.
Oz The Great and Powerful is in theaters NOW!
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This post was facilitated as a result of a press junket. All opinions are strictly my own