We had a chance to sit down with director Sam Raimi and cast members at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasedena and learn more about the characters and the movie. In casting the character of Glinda the Good, director Sam Raimi told us that he wanted the real deal. He knew the actresses who auditioned for the role would put their best foot forward, but he said he was thinking, "I’m trying to see if you’ve got, you know, real goodness inside you. Can you play Glinda? Do you have a sincerity of your soul?" He found this sincerity in actress Michelle Williams, who he has said does have a true "positive spirit and depth of soul."
In taking on the role, Michelle knew she had to bring something special to the character, she related:
Sam said something really interesting to me in the beginning. He said there’s a reason that Glinda, the Good Witch, doesn’t go down the Yellow Brick Road. She’s not on the journey, because she’s one dimensional. She doesn’t have anything she needs to learn about herself, and thus, she’s like the least relatable character. And I thought, right, that’s a good point. We don’t wanna do that. We want people to feel like they’re on a journey with Glinda, too, and that she isn’t this sort of crystalized version who knew it all along. And we want her to have a struggle, we want her to be human.So how is a character who is practically perfect going to have a story arc of her own? Michelle found the core struggle going on in Glinda and brought it to the surface:
Obviously, she’s struggling for the freedom of these people, and she’s struggling a little bit with her own self doubt. But, I thought a lot about transformation. She’s not somebody who’s had a perfectly easy ride. She lost her father. She’s in charge of these these sort of refugees, but she doesn’t really know how to protect them and how to make them see, and I can’t say that those aren’t things that I’ve weighed in my life.
And so, I thought a lot about transformation and how Glinda transforms these dark and dire situations. I thought about her as somebody who transforms tears into bubbles. She makes the best out of a rotten situation because of a way that she chooses to look at it.
Glinda's power to "transform tears into bubbles" and her will to remain steadfast and confident that good will prevail are what make her such a comforting character for adults and kids alike. Of course, her ability to travel by bubble and her angelic look and royal attire help endear her to children as well. How does Michelle feel about this new role she has of being an icon and a role model for millions of children? She told us that her first inkling of what it would be like came from the children who were extras playing the Quadling children:
There are these little girls, [that play] Quadling children, and I would walk by them in full costume, and you would just hear, "Awww," "Ohhh." And they were really shy, and waving, and I was like, wow, I hadn’t entertained this possibility at all...that I would delight young children. I was thinking about delighting one young child, and I didn’t realize there would be more than one. And that’s, I mean, really, what feels better in this whole world than making a kid smile?