Lea Michele may always be Rachel Berry to Gleeks, but the triple threat is also making a name for herself as Dorothy Gale. Yup, the very same originated on screen by Judy Garland! Lea lent her famous voice to the latest, animated version of the ruby-slippered girl from Kansas in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, opening in theaters today, May 9.
The Stir caught up with Lea to talk about the film, what inspired her performance, her famous Oz co-stars (which run the gamut from Martin Short to Dan Aykroyd and fellow Broadway powerhouses Bernadette Peters and Megan Hilty), as well as what fans can expect from Glee's final season.
How did you feel initially about the opportunity to portray Dorothy?
Oh my gosh, I think that from watching The Wizard of Oz so much growing up getting to have the privilege to be involved with Legends of Oz and play Dorothy was really such a childhood dream come true for me. So there was no way I was going to say no.
What performances inspired your own?
I wanted to keep to the heart of the original Wizard of Oz. Getting to play a character that was originated and created by Judy Garland was so incredible!
What animated films are your all-time favorites?
Growing up, I really loved The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast. So you know, I had such great animated films as a little girl that were for me were these Disney princesses I just loved.
You, of course, also contributed to the original motion picture soundtrack for the film, featuring music composed by Bryan Adams. What was it like working on that, as well?
I just loaned my voice to the project, and we had to obviously record the dialogue for the entire film, and then I would come in and do the recording sessions. I think that the songs are so beautiful and so fun, really uplifting, so I think they really match the heart of the story so well.
What did you enjoy most about working with such a star-studded cast?
You know it's so funny cuz the way that these animated films work, you don't actually work with any of the other people in the film. You go in and you do all your stuff by yourself, and then, they piece everything together. But I'm such huge fan of both [Bernadette and Megan], and everyone else in the film. To just be a part of this project with so many incredibly talented people was really such an honor. [But] we just had our premiere, and Martin Short and Jim Belushi were there, so it was nice to see those guys -- and to get to premiere it for a great, young audience, and I can't wait for everyone else to get to see it now.
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Speaking of the Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return premiere, your red carpet look had a glam '70s retro vibe. What went into choosing that style?
Mainly just what was going to be light enough for an incredibly hot, hot day in Los Angeles. I just wanted something that was very comfortable and that would be good in the warm weather. I just wanted something very summery and pretty.
Glee fans are hanging on every teaser about the final season. What can we expect?
It's going to be a very exciting and different season. I know as of now what myself and Chord Overstreet and Darren [Criss] will be doing next year. We can't say -- Ryan has made us keep everything completely under wraps -- but we're all very excited about where our characters will be going next year. It's a good surprise.
Check out the trailer for Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return here ...
Image via Clarius Entertainment