EXCLUSIVE : LOST IN OZ Scoop: Shining The Spotlight On Allison Mack

The Amazon series LOST IN OZ is animated continuation story of the classic tale of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, but re-imagines Dorothy (Ashley Boettcher) as the daughter of Evelyn Gale (Allison Mack), who had her own Oz adventures prior to Dorothy discovering her way to Oz through the aid of a book that Dorothy discovers hidden beneath the floor of their home.  Last year, Amazon released the pilot episode and, after that was well-received, Amazon ordered the entire first season of the delightful children’s series so that the adventures of Dorothy and all her friends could be seen by everyone.  In an exclusive interview, Allison Mack (known for her prior work in SMALLVILLE and WILFRED) talks about her enigmatic character of Evelyn, who definitely is more than she first seems and who figures into the adventures in a big way, as Dorothy will soon find out.

What can you tell me about your role on LOST IN OZ? You are playing the mother of Dorothy, correct?
ALLISON: I am. I was just saying, it’s a little bit odd for me to be playing the mom, but it’s actually really great and I’m enjoying the transition immensely. When I auditioned for the show, I actually auditioned for both, Dorothy and Evelyn, and it turned out that I was more suited for Evelyn. So I’ve been running with that and I really like it. I’m sort of like “Okay, yeah, this fits. This shoe fits. I can do this now.” So Dorothy finds Evelyn’s travel journal from when Evelyn went to Oz and  Evelyn had her grand adventures. It’s because of that that, Dorothy ended up shooting herself through the portal into Oz, herself. So Evelyn is sort of the link home, but Evelyn is also the instigator in a way. Mark and the guy from The Bureau of Magic are writing some really exciting things for Evelyn, so she actually gets to go to Oz heryself and it’s pretty cool.

It seems like Evelyn also kind of has a secret because she was seen talking into the crystal ball in the first episode, which makes us wonder if there is more going on with Evelyn.
ALLISON: Oh yeah, Evelyn knows more than she lets on. It’s gonna get complicated. My mom always said being a parent is so much more layered, than not being a parent because you feel how you feel, but you also empathically feel how your kids feel, and then you feel how you feel about how your kids feel. So your experience, you’re almost having three experiences of life at once when you’re doing it as parent with your child — and for Evelyn, her daughter’s over in Oz having this adventure and she feels that for her.

Is Evelyn able to keep tabs on her daughter or is she kind of still kind of not certain what’s going on with Dorothy as all these things are happening?
ALLISON:  She finds ways that are creative and fun. So I won’t share anymore than that. But she finds a way.

For you, portraying this character, what’s fun about this role for you?
ALLISON:  Just the strength that she finds — that she has — and then kind of tucks that away in order to live a more “normal life.” And then it is rediscovering that through her experience with her daughter. It’s sort of an interesting character that resonates with a certain type of renaissance because of the adventure that her daughter’s sort of forcing her to go on with her. And that’s really neat. It’s really neat to play somebody rediscovering their sense of wildness.

What’s kind of surprised you about this project? Were you surprised kind of the depths of the character? Were the people they cast along with you kind of a surprise? What did you find when you got into it?
ALLISON:  This is my first time being on a serialized cartoon, so I think just the fun of being a part of something that tells a consistent story over a period of time. I’m used to doing something quickly and then leaving it. It’s fun to be able to do a little bit and then go away, and then come back and really see what they’ve done and see what they have developed. That process has been really new and has been full of just surprises and discoveries. Then also just the element of really not knowing what it’s gonna look like, what it’s gonna be like, and having kind of like very loosely-drawn sketches of ideas of things and then seeing it all come together with the beautiful animation that they have been able to create and provide. That’s been really fun and surprising and exciting to just be a part of the culmination of it and have the final product be something that is so much further beyond what I could have imagined.

Is this kind of your way of dipping your toes into doing animated work and voice work?
ALLISON: [Laughs] I guess so. I mean, I’d love to do more. It’s a blast. And it’s a very tight knit community, so it’s not something that you can necessarily just jump into without having sort of earned your stripes. So the fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to do just that with Mark and the guys at The Bureau of Magic has been an incredible privilege and one that I hope to make the most of. I would love to do more voice character work. It’s a blast.

How much is the character, for your character of Evelyn, did you get to see before you started doing the voice work? Did you know what she looked like?
ALLISON:  I knew roughly what she was gonna look like, but that was about it.

Did that change how you wanted to portray her?
ALLISON:  No. I had a thought in my head of her being a really good mom from the get-go.  So I think it was very much a symbiotic relationship between myself and the artists deciding her feel, which I guess is the thing that comes from the look and also the sound. But I was pretty resolved at knowing what I wanted her to sound like and how I wanted her to be portrayed.

What kind of things do you think you were reflecting into the character as you were kind of portraying her?
ALLISON:  Strength, care, nurture, encouragement. I think there’s a little bit of fear in there, but also trust. All of those things. Many, many layers.

As you were working on this project, do you find yourself learning all these new things?
ALLISON: About my craft, absolutely. Just really learning all different sort of skills that I had that I didn’t even know I had. Avenues of acting and expressions of your voice that I didn’t realize were available to me, that have influenced the way that I do my other work as well, which is always exciting. I think anytime you take on a new medium, it influences the medium that you’re all ready used to playing in ,and everything gets better.

Were you as surprised by any of the other characters when you finally saw the final renditions?
ALLISON:  No, I wouldn’t say I was surprised because I had seen the initial sketches. So I think maybe Ojo is the one that I felt the most like “Oh, okay.” He’s like a giant munchkin. And that was fun to see and different than I expected, but I wasn’t like staggered or surprised by any of them.

Besides your character, who is kind of your favorite right now that you’re enjoy watching?
ALLISON:  [Laughs] I haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll have to let you know after I see the premier tomorrow.

You’re in for a fun surprise then.
ALLISON:  I’m excited, I’m taking my nephew so we can check it out together.

How much did you know from the original stories of “The Wizard of Oz”?
ALLISON:  I was a big fan of the movie when I was a kid. I loved it. I loved the songs and the whole deal.  I didn’t really understand what it was about and then I read “The Hero’s Journey.” Somebody had said, “Oh yeah, The Wizard of Oz is The Hero’s Journey, but with a female protagonist.  You should check it out.” So then I watched “The Wizard of Oz” again just a couple years ago and I was like “Oh my God. This is quite a bit more layered than I remembered it being.” You know, I was singing the songs and understood the story from like an 8 year old’s perspective. It’s been neat. I’ve been re-visiting the story in and around LOST IN OZ. It’s fun.

It is one of those really surprising feminist stories. It’s about female empowerment at a particularly a young age, which is kind of cool.
ALLISON:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s very much about a young woman facing adventure and finding herself on the other side.

What do you think the viewers, particularly since they’re gonna be a pre-teen audience, are gonna actually take away from this experience for them?
ALLISON:  I think there’s a certain type who:  pursue what you know is right and never give up on friendship, type of a thing, and also like believe in yourself. So believe in your capacity to do the things that you set your mind to because that’s really what the movie does.

It’s fun though, isn’t it? It’s such an interesting world they’ve created and they are playing with.
ALLISON:  Exactly. Oh my God, it’s great.

Can you tease anything about what’s upcoming?
ALLISON:  I don’t want to share. I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble. There is a lot of, there are a lot of exciting twists and turns.

Who would you recommend keeping an eye on as a teaser?
ALLISON:  Evelyn.

Ah ha! So there is something there!
ALLISON: Ah hah, indeed!

Are you working on anything else that you want to kind of promote right now?
ALLISON:  [Laughs] Not right now. I’m just mainly focusing on getting this one off the ground and, hopefully, I’ll have something to talk about in the Fall.

To see what sneaky and surprising twists are revealed as to Evelyn and her role in Dorothy’s adventures in Oz, be sure to tune in for the Season 1 premiere of LOST IN OZ on Friday, August 4th exclusively on Amazon.